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Comment Re:Here's a secret... (Score 1) 114

There is a positive note to all the 3D movie bullshit....it makes second run theaters like my local lovingly restored early 1930s movie house VERY popular as they only show movies in 2D. You go by my local Cinema 8 and there is just a trickle of cars for any of the "popcorn flcks" and family movies but the second they hit the old theater? Its fricking packed with lines going around the building to get in.

I can't say as I blame 'em as I decided to run my own little experiment and watch Iron Man 3 in both 3D at the Cinema 8 and 2D at the old movie house and the 3D gave me a skull thumper about halfway into the movie which lasted for about an hour afterwards while enjoying the 2D version in those classic opera house style seats with a big tub of popcorn? It was just a damned nice movie experience. Now I won't bother, if it doesn't come to the old movie house? Meh I'll either Redbox or pick up the Blu Ray, I don't want anymore 3D movies, thanks anyway.

Submission + - Senate bills ends visa lottery, gives U.S. grads preference (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: A new bill in Congress would give foreign students who graduate from U.S. schools priority in getting an H-1B visa. The legislation also "explicitly prohibits" the replacement of American workers by visa holders. This bill, the H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act, was announced Thursday by its co-sponsors, U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), longtime allies on H-1B reform. Grassley is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which gives this bill an immediate big leg up in the legislative process. This legislation would end the annual random distribution, via a lottery, of H-1B visas, and replace it with a system to give priority to certain types of students. Foreign nationals in the best position to get one of the 85,000 H-1B visas issued annually will have earned an advanced degree from a U.S. school, have a well-paying job offer, and have preferred skills. The specific skills weren't identified, but will likely be STEM-related.

Comment Re:Devil's advocacy (Score 1) 124

First, though Steam has sales. PlayStation Store also has sales. Second, console games have historically been more likely than PC games to support same-screen multiplayer with two to four gamepads, and if you have more than one gamer in the house, one copy of a $60 game that supports multiple gamepads is cheaper than three copies of a $30 game that requires a separate copy per player. Third, if everybody were to wait for the sale instead of buying in release month at full price, publishers would have no money to continue to fund development of high-production-value games.

Not to mention the fact that, unlike PC games, you can often find dirt-cheap used physical copies of console games on Amazon and other sites. A while back I bought a used copy of Battlefront for PS4 for $10 on Amazon. Good luck getting it for sale on PC for that price.

And even if you could, big Steam sales only come a few times a year and many devlopers don't even support Steam (including big names like EA and Ubisoft). By contrast, cheap used copies of console games can be found anytime.

Comment Re:so what? (Score 1) 124

Since PS4 and Xbox One have both adopted similar x86 architectures this generation and have similar hardware specs, the issue is largely moot now. Developing a game designed for both systems is pretty easy and so a developer would just be throwing away money if it just developed for one or the other.

Now as for Nintendo, on the other hand....

Comment Re:Since they determined autopilot wasn't to blame (Score 3, Interesting) 148

The problem is that, human nature being what it is, a lot of drivers will come to rely too much on autopilot and will stop paying attention just like this guy apparently did. That will cause a lot of crashes just by itself. This isn't DIRECTLY the fault of autopilot, but is rather an INDIRECT consequence of having it (combined with human nature).

Submission + - Zuckerberg sues hundreds of Hawaiians to force property sales to him. (msn.com)

mmell writes: Apparently, owning 700 acres of land in Hawaii isn't enough — Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, has filed suit to force owners of several small parcels of land to sell to the highest bidder. The reason? These property owners are completely surrounded by Zuckerberg's land holdings and therefore have lawful easement to cross his property in order to get to theirs.

Many of these land owners have held their land for generations, but seemingly Mr. Zuckerberg can not tolerate their presence so close to his private little slice of paradise. Landowners such as these came to own their land when their ancestors were "given" the land as Hawaiian natives.

If successful in his "quiet title" court action, Mr. Zuckerberg will finally have his slice of Hawaii's beaches and tropical lands without having to deal with the pesky presence of neighbors who were on his land before he owned it. Who knew that Hawaiians were just another kind of Native Americans?

Comment Re:HBO needs to get its head back in the game (Score 1) 141

The HBO subscription is only worth it if you have a peer group that also has an HBO subscription and so it's important to watch things at the same time as them. I stopped buying DVDs about 10 years ago when renting became a lot cheaper than buying, but I've recently started again with boxed sets. Even if I only watch each episode once, it's cheaper than any of the streaming options, plus they're practically DRM free (as in, the DRM is so broken that it may as well not exist) and I can copy them to a mobile device for watching on long trips. Oh, and I get to wait until there are multiple years of something before I watch it.

I do wonder a bit what would happen to the economics of TV series production if most people did this. You'd expect a TV show to make a loss for the first few years, but then be profitable over a longer time, which is a very different model from the current mode of any profits after the first year are a nice bonus, but not factored into the accounting calculations.

Comment Re:Catastrophic man-made global warming (Score 2) 248

Perhaps, perhaps not. Venus is still very poorly understood. In its high temperature environment its conditions are largely self-sustaining (preventing the sequestration of CO2 in rock), although it's also unstable, prone to broad temperature and pressure swings. It also appears to have undergone a global resurfacing event about 300-500mya, if that gives a clue as to how unstable the planet as a whole is. ;) We don't know what caused it, or really anything about it. Part of the planet's properties are now a result of it having lost its water rather than being a cause, such as its hard crust. Obviously its lack of a magnetic field is responsible for its loss of water, but we don't know exactly when or why it disappeared (there are of course theories... I had always just assumed it was the slow rotation rate, but the last research I read suggested that not enough to account for it). Other issues as to how Venus ended up as it did may be related to size - although it's only a bit smaller than Earth, that may be the initial factor that set its fate in motion - for example, its lithosphere in general appears to be thicker and higher viscosity on Earth, which could have hindered or prevented plate tectonics, and thus subduction of carbonates.

Either way, it's a mess now at the surface (though rather comfy ~55km up ;) ). And I'm not so sure I buy into some of the proposed ways to fix it (terraforming). For example, some have suggest mass drivers ejecting the atmosphere. Let's just say you can pull it off, and then you start building oxygen in the atmosphere - what happens next? The crust is something like 7-9% FEO; it's going to rust away whatever oxygen you make in short order.

Interestingly, I'd argue that this is possibly the salvation to Sagan's airborne-microbe concept for terraforming Venus. The main criticism is that if you engineered some sort of carbon-sequestering microbe on Venus (or artificial equivalent), you'd end up with a deep surface layer of graphite surrounded by some hugely hot, dense oxygen layer, and the atmosphere would explode. But that would never happen; at Venus surface temperatures and pressures, the surface rocks would rust away the oxygen as fast as it was created, even in tiny quantities, with the wind blowing the dust around to collect at low/eddy areas. So you're laying down bands of carbon and iron oxide as you burn through the planet's iron buffer. Where have we seen this before? Right, Earth, ~2,3 billion years ago, banded iron formations. Just like on Earth, you'd eventually burn through the iron and start to accumulate oxygen. But by then the graphite is already underground, buried in iron dust.

It's not a fast process. But it has precedent. Microbes already rusted at least one planet, and that planet's surface conditions weren't nearly as favorable for rusting as Venus's.

Comment Re:Saving the world with a Tax. (Score 4, Insightful) 248

The idea of a tax isn't as silly as you make it sound. The problem with most forms of pollution (from a purely economic standpoint) is that one person or company gains the benefits from polluting, but everyone pays the costs. This is known as an externality. Taxing pollution fixes this and means that the polluting technology becomes more expensive to operate and makes the barrier to entry for non-polluting technologies higher. If something is producing a lot of carbon dioxide but costs $5/widget, and you add a tax that amounts to $2.50/widget, then a replacement technology that doesn't emit any CO_2 but costs $7/widget is now cheaper to use. This means that you can bring it to market before you've got the economies of scale to push the price down below $5/widget.

Comment Re:solar/wind talk is spin - France vs China (Score 1) 248

Size doesn't really matter, because most renewable schemes scale with area. Population density does. France has 116/km^2, China has 145/km^2, so almost a 25% higher overall population density. That translates to a little bit less space for wind, solar, hydro and so on per capita, but not by enough to make it infeasible. Add in nuclear power, and the scaling is quite easy - building a nuclear power plant is hard, but doubling the generating capacity doesn't come close to doubling the land area, as long as you have a supply of uranium (China has uranium mines, France doesn't).

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