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Comment Re:The only fascinating thing about this story... (Score 1) 50

How would that work? Open source is firmly grounded in copyright law - how could granting an extremely permissive, non-revokable license with clear and specific reciprocity demands possibly be found to run afoul of US law, without simultaneously destroying all other copyright licensing arrangements as well?

Comment Re:Who really cares? It won't change a thing. (Score 2) 50

Of course, considering that Google only cribbed the API, and not the code implementing it, there's really only one main benefit they get from Java's API - one that nothing else delivers: Java developers.

Yes, they could clone another language library, but few languages have the popularity of Java, and C++ doesn't have a standard library with anywhere near the scope of Java's, even if they could entice "close to the metal" developers to write code for their emulator instead.

And for most languages I suspect the APIs are no more unencumbered than Java's, so there would be nothing to gain anyway.

Comment Re:I wanted to take a photo of my ballot (Score 1) 141

And a corrupt hate-mongering con-man with delusions of competence is likely to be better? At least Hillary seems to understand that our planet is finite and our civilization is facing some grave challenges, unlike Mr. "Global Warming is a Chinese Hoax" who wants to disband the environmental protection agency, not to mention undo decades of civil rights progress.

Frankly, I'd rather a corrupt politician interested in preserving their dynasty, than an incompetent clown with no understanding of the problems we're facing. It could take decades to undo the damage he would gleefully cause, and we don't have that kind of time to spare.

Comment Re:I wanted to take a photo of my ballot (Score 1) 141

Another alternative is early voting - many places in the US allow voting weeks before election day. Ideally it should be allowed on weekends and outside normal business hours as well - after all while not having to wait in long lines helps, being able to vote on your day off helps even more.

Comment Re:welcome america to MATH 101 (Score 1) 1003

Then what, pray tell, do you imagine causes stars to explode? Gravity only pulls inward after all...

Most stars are mostly hydrogen and helium, right up until their final days. Truly massive ones may indeed build up substantial reserves of heavier elements in absolute terms, but the heavier, stabler ones, especially iron, tend to settle into the core and remain there, stable and "dead", until enough accumulates to exceed the Chandrasekhar limit (about 1.4 solar masses, less than 1% of a large star's mass) at which point gravity overcomes the electron degeneracy pressure and the core collapses to become a neutron star or black hole.

At that point my understanding gets sketchy, but as I understand it the sudden heating and compression of the remaining mass triggers a runaway fusion reaction, further superheating the infalling material to the point that even energy-negative fusion occurs, generating the myriad elements beyond iron, and of course blowing apart the star as the blast wave nears the surface.

At a smaller scale, type 1a supernovae are a somewhat different mechanism - believed to occur when a white dwarf (a dead star remnant consisting primarily of carbon and oxygen, without enough mass to fuse all the way to iron) accretes enough matter from a companion star that it's mass exceeds the electron degeneracy pressure, and it begins to collapse again. But before collapsing all the way to a neutron star, runaway carbon fusion reaction begins, releasing over the course of days more energy than it did in the rest of its lifetime, and tearing itself apart in the process.

Thanks for the motive to research this a little more thoroughly. Wikipedia has some very interesting pages on stellar physics, and I rarely have an excuse to read them.

Comment Re:welcome america to MATH 101 (Score 1) 1003

Not quite - the slowing o fusion as hydrogen runs out just causes the star to collapse. If it's massive enough though, the greater pressures and temperatures that creates then cause the helium and other heavier elements to begin fusing, releasing far more energy far more quickly than in the original star, causing an explosion (and creating a wide spectrum of even heavier elements)

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1) 1003

Except that nuclear winter was an extremely overblown idea, part of the scaremongering of the era. And it was never the bombs that caused it, it was the fires they started. And even the comparatively small effect they would have is based on the idea that nobody would put out those fires - extremely unlikely given the (greatly exaggerated) consequences. Every remaining aircraft in the world would be busy putting them out, even if it cost the pilots their lives. Plenty of people are capable of great self-sacrifice to save those they love.

Comment Re:Least worst (Score 1) 1003

Not really. Maybe, sometimes, if the popular vote mattered, but for the president it doesn't. Most states are pretty firmly in one camp or the other, and only in a handful of swing states will such thin margins even be considered.

Now, if we're talking local/state elections, especially in areas not gerrymandered out of democracy, then yes you're absolutely correct, and I'd love to see a credible third party concentrate on those instead of making a lot of mostly-pointless noise at the federal level.

Comment Re:Two candidates (Score 1) 1003

Unfortunately, it's a built-in feature of first-past-the-post voting systems such as ours. There can, very occasionally, be upsets, but generally speaking if a third party candidate hasn't made a really impressive showing by this point, they're not going to have even a chance. Had Bernie decided to run independent or Green he might have had a credible shot at the presidency, but more likely he would have ended up splitting the vote with Hillary, and given Trump an easy win. That's an inherent problem with our voting system, and the reason things like instant runoff voting were invented.

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1) 1003

Oh please.

When has any bigwig ever been executed in the US, even for crimes far worse than seling contaminated milk? Heck, US banks did their best to crash the global economy while enriching the bigwigs, and got nice fat loans to keep them in business as punishment. Nobody even went to jail except for a whistle-blower or two.

Comment Re: Hmm (Score 1) 1003

Don't kid yourself - even if global civilization were somehow bombed to pre-industrial technological levels, the only major resource there's a potential lack of is energy. Pretty much everything else is bountifully available in landfills in concentrations and purities far exceeding anything that was ever available naturally. And while destroying industrial capacity would be easy, destroying the technological knowledge needed to rebuild would be far, far more difficult.

Once the worst of the radioactive fallout had washed away, life would probably be quite comfortable relatively quickly. Even if we did have to deal with high infant mortality from mutations, and lifespans cut short by early-onset cancer for a few generations.

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1) 1003

Don't believe the propaganda. Chernobyl released about 400x the radiation of the bomb at Hiroshima, and aside from the epicenter itself, the exclusion zone is apparently doing quite well. Though the microbial life seems harder hit by the radiation, and it remains to be seen what the long-term consequences of that will be.

Even the "nuclear winter" fears were later admitted to being overblown, and had little to do with "nuclear" in the first place - it would have been the results of all the cities burning down due to infrastructure damage and the presumption that nobody would be willing to race into the radioactive epicenter to put out the fires.

Granted, if all the major cities and military bases in the world were taken out by Satan2 class missiles then the fallout would be more intense, but give it a year and most of the world would still be livable, you'd just have to accept much higher rates of cancer and mutation for a century or two.

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1) 1003

In fairness though, while it's been a while, the US was far more ruthless in conquering it's neighbors (the term "genocide" is often used in regards to the native peoples), and has ignored basically every treaty we ever made with them, right up to the current DAPL travesty where we're unilaterally appropriating sovereign lands to run an oil pipeline.

Not to mention that while we haven't engaged in open conquest in a long time, we have shown a rather disturbing fondness for installing puppet governments to deliver what we want while providing a nice buffer of (im)plausible deniability. Saddam Hussein and his atrocities? We put him in power, propped up his regime, and didn't displace him until he became uncooperative. By any reasonable accounting, we bear responsibility for his atrocities.

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