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Comment Re:Yea, I take his advice like I take Gores (Score 1) 722

I don't understand your comment about the effect of latitude. I live in the USA, which has a quite different climate from where you're from (Europe, I'd guess). There are large regions of the country that get quite hot in the summer (35 C) for months, but can get very cold in the winter (-5C or so). In this region, early winter snowfall typically blankets roofs for all of the cold months, so the color of the roof is unimportant. After the snow, it'll be white! Now, in the summer, these regions face the same cooling problems as the southern parts of the nation, so a high albedo paint on the roof is a good idea.

I'm afraid I'm also at a loss as to your comment concerning tall buildings. Radiative heating scales with the surface area exposed to the radiation, not the volume (unless the object is partially transparent -- definitely not the case for buildings). The energy delivered by the sun will be lessened by about the same factor for a 10 story building as for a one story building. There may be additional exposure from the sides of the building, but this generally occurs outside the hottest time of the day. Moreover, old buildings would often use tar on the roof. It helped to seal out water and was cheap. But it's black and can really cause the place to heat up.

Comment Re:It's all very easy (Score 1) 150

I didn't think Fallout 3 was a good Fallout, but it was a good TES game. I really hate the rules for TES, and the voice acting, and the quests ... But (ab)using the rules from Fallout did wonders for their game.

I like New Vegas a great deal. It's a better role-playing game, and the rules are improved (being less open-handed with perks and skill points is the right thing to do). I still miss turn-based combat, though. I always feel that these new run-and-gun stat-building games just aren't as fun as the old turn-based tactical play. But I get the impression that I'm the last person on earth who feels this way.

Comment Re:Passwords (Score 5, Insightful) 438

You can be compelled to hand over a password, but it requires a court order. However, in the case of having your phone taken when you are arrested, the police don't need your password to see your data if it is unencrypted. They'll just read the phone memory with another device.

Generally, it's easy for the police to seize your property, relatively risk-free for them to damage it, and difficult for you to get it back in a timely fashion.

You can thank the drug war.


Study Claims $41.5 Billion In Portable Game Piracy Losses Over Five Years 316

Gamasutra reports that Japan's Computer Entertainment Suppliers Association conducted a study to estimate the total amount of money lost to piracy on portable game consoles. The figure they arrived at? $41.5 billion from 2004 to 2009. Quoting: "CESA checked the download counts for the top 20 Japanese games at what it considers the top 114 piracy sites, recording those figures from 2004 to 2009. After calculating the total for handheld piracy in Japan with that method, the groups multiplied that number by four to reach the worldwide amount, presuming that Japan makes up 25 percent of the world's software market. CESA and Baba Lab did not take into account other popular distribution methods for pirated games like peer-to-peer sharing, so the groups admit that the actual figures for DS and PSP software piracy could be much higher than the ¥3.816 trillion amount the study found."

Comment Re:One of these words does not belong (Score 4, Interesting) 61


Microsoft research does good work. Some of the ideas that come out of there are definitely cool and creative, like surface. Others are new and innovative, like the tablet. What Microsoft can't seem to do is to move ideas from research into products. There's a big institutional roadblock that prevents them from pushing new, innovative, creative, and cool ideas out the door. The result: no revolution.

And yeah, I think it will kill them in the long run if they can't fix that problem.

Comment Re:Hurray?! (Score 2, Interesting) 340

The Roman Republic lasted some five hundred years without criminal law. From this, you could conclude that the modern notion of criminal justice is unnecessary, even in a large society. But a look inside of Rome might change your mind. Just because the system didn't collapse without this law doesn't mean the law is worthless. It also doesn't mean it's any good, either.

Comment Re:Still failing to grasp their audience (Score 2, Insightful) 250

I agree that this is out of touch. It's also out of touch in a revealing way. The execs are seeking to "add back" to the digital album the things they were used to from the physical album. But the new generation of music listeners have no experience with the old album. To them, the band's "art" is their website. The band's videos (from concerts and so on) are either on the website or on youtube.

I do think there's more to the album than the possibility for theme. I think bands work better when work is focused on creating something longer than a single track. I think the stress of limited studio time to create an LP has enabled some bands to do good work. But this doesn't mean that the album of this century will be like the one of last century.

Comment Don't forget Gibbs (Score 1) 451

I'd go for the collected papers of JW Gibbs. There's a Dover edition out there, so I think it is in the public domain. One of the bright lights of last century's science. He pretty much made modern thermodynamics, and his work is at the heart of a lot of material science.

Not free, but definitely a good read is GI Barenblatt's Scaling, Self-similarity, and Intermediate Asymptotics. You can learn a lot of applied math/ applied physics from that book. The scaling analysis of the atomic bomb and of Olympic rowers are both really neat.

I would avoid pop-press physics books. They're light on science and heavy on BS.

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