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Comment Remarkable (Score 0) 1021

I haven't seen one of my sci-fi favorites on here, a book that I believe to be on par with "1984" or "Fahrenheit 451", and that's "The Children of Men" by P.D. James. Particularly the opening description of a future world without posterity and therefore without out hope is truly striking. (It should be noted that the film, while quite good, has almost nothing to do with the book). Another thing to consider would be to incorporate some Graphic Novels into the mix. "V for Vendetta" would be a good choice here.

Comment Re:Plans come in chunk much greater than 15 second (Score 1, Insightful) 383

Bought, unused time is the way that the phone companies make their profit, whether it be with dozens of unused minutes you have leftover at the end of the month, or the 59 seconds you bought but didn't use because you phone call lasted 61. It's an arbitrage opportunity. The point is that if they free up 59 seconds of airtime even though you've paid for it, they can do the same with the next guy, and they next. Ultimately, if you have 60 people make 61 second phone calls, that second minute of airtime made them 60x the amount of profit as if people had actually been using it. The 15 second message is a way of pushing you closer to that magic 61 second mark, and I would imagine the length of that message (and thus the reason it still has that stupid "page this person" option) is calculated to set the average call length to leave a message right at the point where it's most profitable to them.

Comment Re:Space Quest (Score 0) 1120

I'd be willing to say that *ALL* of the "Quest" games could use some revival. King's Quest, Quest for Glory, Police Quest (pre-SWAT days), Space Quest, those were my bread-and-butter growing up. I'd love to go back to any of those worlds. I'd particularly like to take on the Vorpal Bunnies in QFG4 again. Obvious, but hilarious reference.

Comment Re:High Thrust, High Specific Impulse (Isp) (Score 3, Funny) 168

I have to say that I reject your theory that ion engines are low-thrust, since I happen to know for a fact that a single-man spacecraft with a Twin Ion Engine is capable of 1,200 km/hr and an acceleration of 4,100 G. Please refer to: Thank you for your time. Let's keep things grounded in reality, people!

Comment My Father (Score 0) 538

This is interesting, actually. I think a lot of it may be poor word-of-mouth. My father lives in a small, rural town of 750 people, goodness knows how far from a DSL node. One of his friends got a DSL line and then complained to Dad how the speed wasn't much different. Ever since, trying to convince Dad to get some kind of broadband solution has been impossible.

Comment Good Stuff (Score 0) 517

For my money, I'd recommend (as many others have) Design Patterns by the Gang of Four. The Mythical Man-Month is also good reading. However, for a general essay on User Interfaces, I recommend The Inmates are Running the Asylum by Alan Cooper. Just for a kick-ass read (required reading in my university's Ethics and Computing course) check out The Cuckoo's Egg by Cliff Stoll.

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In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle