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Comment Re:Lack of scientific literacy? (Score 1) 97

I'm always surprised at the number of people who think that long lived isotopes are more dangerous than short lived ones.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I lack a lot of knowledge on the science of these issues. Generally speaking, the only time I hear Uranium is in association with man-made nuclear projects. Rarely do I hear Uranium in association with micro-nutrients and naturally occurring sea particles. Until this article appeared, I had never read that there was so much of it in the planet's waters than could be mined on land.

With that in mind, the idea that Uranium was slipping into the ocean would be understandably disturbing, even given the size of the planet's water bodies and the relatively small amounts of Uranium. A few months ago when I read that the Japanese government was pumping sea water into the reactors to cool them, I was really worried that the sea water would become heavily irradiated, make it's way back into the waters surrounding Japan, and then back into the food chain reaching the Japanese people themselves. Basically, I thought Japan was in the process of becoming a radioactive set of islands.

If the science doesn't support that, then OK. The problem is getting that information out to the general public in an effective way. I remember articles claiming that California was going to basically become toxic due to radioactive particles coming across the air streams from Japan. I already knew California receives pollution from China, so I was a little concerned. I went to a colleague who explained that there was no problem. The average person can't always do that. Hence the fear of Uranium in the world's water supply.

Comment Re:Terrorists putting their plots on FB? (Score 1) 133

You're a long way off from being interesting to them. Actions like these are mostly about low hanging fruit. They know the smart and dangerous types are using other channels. This tool will be mostly used to monitor trends, map out where people will gather en mass, and somewhat occasionally track specific individuals. There's just too many people to watch all at once, even with today's technology. You have to do something to pop up on their radar. Until then, your lack of social network visibility will sufficiently mask your presence.

Well, I hope so, anyway.

Comment Re:Haha "This could have serious consequences" wow (Score 3, Interesting) 97

I remember when the Fukushima event was still making headlines people were freaking out because radiation was making it's way to the U.S. I was a little worried myself, but since I work for an air purification company one of the data-crunchers there was able to explain now negligible the impact actually was.

If it's the same for this seawater issue, then no big deal, I guess. Still, I can't help but be a little disturbed at the idea of radioactive particles from a power plant being spread into the ocean. I wonder how nuclear subs handle this sort of thing.

Comment How timely! (Score 2) 469

We deal with exactly this type of boss where I work. He often flies into a rage when we update him on progress on the website. He seems to think that everything we do can be done in a few days no matter how complicated or how many times he changes his mind on something. It got to the point where the webmaster/programmer started saying "Show me how. I'm willing to learn." The boss didn't have an answer for that and now the webmaster doesn't get invited to meetings on the website anymore.

Comment Re:Do something (Score 1) 439

Doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose? The entire point to a technical solution to a social problem is that you can sidestep those persnickety legal issues.

Well, yes, you're right. My overall point was that it probably wasn't a possible thing to do. Once an alternative becomes viable in a mainstream sense, there will be legislation to put it under control.

Assuming a working alternate network was able to run under the radar of the powers that be, it would probably be so small and with such little viable content that it would be little more than a niche medium. Kind of like Gopher today.

How long has it been since you were a student, exactly?

Over ten years. I grant that students now are different than students then, but I think my point still holds. It's really all about content and convenience. Why do research on this alt-net when you have Wikipedia and Google on the regular Internet? Chat rooms? Message boards? Videos? Games? Porn? The regular Internet already has that and more. The only interest I can see from students is as some kind of academic research project.

You can't just make a product and say "Use this product!". It doesn't work that way. You have to think of the convenience of the consumers of that product. You've got to be able to offer something that the user base wants within an acceptable threshold of effort. And that acceptable threshold is defined by whatever other product is out there that fulfills the same need. In this case, the Internet. Which is ubiquitous. That's why I don't think students of today would be attracted to it.

This isn't to say that I don't think it would be an interesting effort. I just don't think the momentum would be sustainable. It would almost have to be made with the idea that it would be dropped for something else.

Comment Re:Do something (Score 1) 439

I don't know about this. Yes, a lot of slashdotters could build a wifi mesh for given area, but they are also the minority in a given area as well. The initial mesh would be primitive. It would get more robust and attractive with growth, but the average Internet user won't want to access it unless it was so easy as to be accidentally done.

What about content? Quality would be up, but amount would be small. The general public won't come in initially because there's nothing there to consume. The tech crowd might find it a haven since the initial content would be tech-centric, but there still wouldn't be a huge amount of movement initially.

SOPA would have jurisdiction no matter what. If it doesn't, laws can get passed that would grant it. A strict rule of etiquette would have to be in place with the idea that all content is public domain, and that copyright-infringing content will be removed on discovery.

If the meshes got big enough, companies would be interested in coming in. A strict rule would have to be in place to reject this. Governments would be interested as well. If a government doesn't get access to something, it can become regulated or outlawed. Given that wifi uses radio signals regulated by the FCC, some regulation is inevitable.

I supposed you could start by getting colleges involved. Students wouldn't be interested because there wouldn't be much content to study off it. This would have to be pitched as some kind of research project. Maybe local community groups could get involved, if they're upset enough about government interference or unfair laws, or something to that effect. There wouldn't be many nodes to start with, and the meshes would not be able to connect to each other without using the regular Internet, putting them directly under SOPA's jurisdiction.

Really, it comes down to what you want out of the Internet. If you want to share content, you can (basically) already do that without worrying about SOPA. If you want to connect to others from far away, you can already do that without SOPA (assuming a reasonably non-restrictive country). If you want an Internet without corporate interference, without government inspection (almost impossible), and complete freedom of sharing and communication no matter what, then yes, you could build this mesh.

Over time, however, it would need to be replaced by something else. Like anything, it would be subject to change and eventually steer away from it's initial vision. It would either get subsumed by the regular Internet or just close down. Maybe it could continue on, but this would take a lot of work over a long period of time. A lot of people have been bringing up this idea for a while, so that may already speak to it's general viability.

Comment Re:Finding heavy elements (Score 1) 127

So what happens if or when we mine enough Uranium from the Earth? Would the drop in radioactive heat allow the core to cool significantly faster, or is it just a redundant heat source? I'm working on the assumption that, even if we did mine out all the Uranium, the core wouldn't cool down fast enough to matter to anyone with an average human life span, but all the same I'm curious just how much of a cooling impact there would be.

Comment Re:Does this mean TPB will still be working? (Score 1) 327

The point being, I spend most of my disposable income on media of various sorts, but that doesn't mean I can afford everything I want - and if I can have it, why not? No one would be getting my money if I didn't 'steal' it, so the only person losing out would be me. The whole argument has been rendered redundant in my case by me not having a huge pile of cash to hand over in the first place. The RIAA/MPAA/whoever can take me to court for however many millions of dollars if they want - they'll get a lower percentage of my income awarded to them than I hand over voluntarily.

From a practical, pragmatic standpoint your argument makes sense. The ultimate issue, however is moral and ethical one. The argument here is that although you can pirate the media, you shouldn't because you don't have a claim to it as agreed upon by yourself and the other party (the RIAA, MPAA, artist or equivalent in this case).

The fact that the RIAA/MPAA/etc engage in abusive tactics is irrelevant in this argument, although many try to make it seem that way. It's essentially "two wrongs don't make a right". The actual idea is that you could pirate, but you shouldn't (or don't) because you have a certain moral or ethical standard about how to behave with regards to society as a whole. Assuming others follow your lead, then you will have culture where it's considered appropriate to deny one's immediate personal desires to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to benefit over the long term. The opposite of this would more or less be to engage in satisfying one's immediate desires regardless of the ultimate effect that this has on society in general. Assuming others follow your lead, then you will have a culture that is not interested in a stable whole so long as one's individual desires are accounted for.

Note that I haven't stated that one way is better or worse than the other. Society goes where it wants, and I think it's useless to apply such values as good or bad. You have to acknowledge the change that's taking place and either figure out how to turn it to your benefit, slow it down, or stop it. It's important to note, however, that this is the real crux of the "pirate/don't pirate" debate. At least, as far as I can tell. From a practical standpoint, there's really no useful argument against piracy. People have surprising moral flexibility, and if you can live with it and get away with it, then you will do it. And, since people (especially on Slashdot) will always find a way to get away with it, the question is, should you be able to live with it? If you believe in the "benefit society" argument, the answer is no, and if you believe in the "benefit myself" argument, the answer is yes. That's all. Any debate beyond that is justification and useless proselytizing. It really comes down to what you think is the most appropriate way to behave as outlined above.

I'm sure there are more nuances to consider here, but I think that's the crux of it.

Comment Re:Forever? (Score 1) 749

So, why doesn't someone try following their lead in the music industry?

Probably because it's hard, especially if you're an artist trying to work on the business side of things. Image Comics was explosive when it first came out, but it was founded and controlled by artists with little direct business experience. The company became plagued with missed deadlines. Rob Liefeld, one of the founding members left before the others had a chance to kick him out. Jim Lee has since come under the wing of DC (some years ago. Don't know about now). WildCATS and Savage Dragon had cartoons made out of them, but there wasn't enough creative control and the shows became terrible (WildCATS was out-of-the-box terrible). Whilce Fortacio (sp?) started out strong with Wetworks, but a personal crisis made him drop out and become the forgotten member of the group. Out of all of them Todd MacFarlane was the only one to really expand on what he was doing and build a thriving, multifaceted business.

In terms of the music industry, a poster below mentioned Tune Core and CDBaby. In addition, you can still find music shops that were essentially started up so that the people running them could finance and distribute their own band (in my experience this is more common with the punk stuff. Don't know about other genres). The underlying problem is the wearing of multiple hats. If you're an artist trying to be a businessperson, or a businessperson trying to make art, you're going to run into real conflict. I used to know one of the musicians in the band called PseudoCypher. He and his wife got tired of trying to "make it" in the industry by touring and hoping to get picked up by a company, so the wife went to school to find out about starting up their own label. Did it work? I don't know. Last I heard, they were still touring and waiting to get picked up. It's not easy to balance the needs of both positions, and it gets worse when you have multiple people involved. A bunch of people get together and they all want their say. Coordination becomes tough, and things start to fall apart. It becomes easier to find someone and say "Here. You do this, and I'll work on the other stuff.". Before you know it you're signing contracts and hoping you didn't make a mistake.

Comment This explains the update warning at work (Score 1) 237

I work in a department that uses mostly Macs (the rest of the company using PCs, as would be expected). Since we mostly use Macs, and since our IT people have explicitly stated they don't service Macs, we were a little confused when an email went around saying not to update our systems until IT had a chance to clear it. Obviously it was never meant for my department, but given the breadth of fixes, I'm wondering what kind of hell IT will catch if the Sales or Admin departments get updated and find applications broken.

Has anyone had anything break from this update, or has it been smooth sailing?

Comment Re:Who still breathes CITY air? (Score 1) 164

I know you're joking, but we actually have something close to that. I work for a company that makes room and whole-house air purifiers. The president of our company was so sure of our products that he took one of our room air purifiers and sealed himself in a room filled with tear gas. He had goggles on to protect his eyes, but no gas mask. He basically just kept his nose by the vents of the air purifier and waited until the tear gas had dissipated.

When I first started with the company, I thought people were pulling my leg when they told me about it, but then I finally saw the video. I have to say, that was pretty neat.

Comment Re:10,000 hours (Score 1) 493

I don't know if this is where you got the figure, but the 10,000 hours estimate comes up in the book This Is Your Brain On Music. There's a chapter somewhere in the middle on what it takes to be a great musician. The author states that, as a general average, it takes about 10,000 hours to become an expert at anything. I think he also stressed that this is more or less a ballpark figure. Some people take longer, some fewer.

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