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Comment Re:I just don't see the issue (Score 2, Insightful) 559

The odds are stacked against an individual who might want to keep certain details of their life private when an organization as large as Google is trying to pry their lives open.

But Google isn't "prying", that's my point. They're collecting information that you have chosen to make available publicly, whether it's by placing it on the public Internet, or broadcasting it over EM waves where anyone nearby can pick it up. If you want privacy, don't announce your information in a public manner, and you will be off Google's radar. Google got blasted for Buzz (and deservedly so) because information that people thought they had selected as "private" was being made available, but that's not the issue here. If you're concerned with your MAC address being recorded, you need to learn how wireless networking works.

Comment Re:Cell phone use in public == Neurological disord (Score 1) 109

This is why I prefer my subway commute to any of my driving commutes; spending a half hour driving is a half hour wasted, but I can read on the subway. I liked my walking commute best of all, but I can't always live within two miles of work. I don't have a problem with cell phones (Note to NYC: Never let anyone wire your subways for cell phones), only morons who need to play their music so loud that even using headphones, it is clearly audible to people at the other end of the car.

Of course, in both cases the problem can be partially solved with earplugs. And for Amtrak, as well as a few other train lines, there is usually a quiet car where cell phone use is prohibited. Man I love those cars.

Comment Re:Comparing Apples to Articulated Aardvarks (Score 1) 154

Stop trying to re-define the meaning of the word reliability to suit your whacky desire

Hang on - you were the one that did that. Please look at the article, some posts and a dictionary.

20 year old data is quite useless

In the case of my clients it's saving them half a year and a few million that they would have to spend to go out and do another seismic survey. You see now - blanket statements can be pointless and very very wrong.
Backup reliability is all about being able to get the data again from where it has been stored - NONE OF THIS UTTER BULLSHIT ABOUT RUNNING A SINGLE TAPE FOR THOUSANDS OF HOURS.
I don't think you are stupid so please do not pretend to be just so that you can win some personal game. People who don't know better may be misled.

Comment Re:But what difference will it make? (Score 1) 110

But what could we DO about it?

We could upload commands to our orbiting spacecraft to go into safe mode and shut down sensitive electronics and what not. Most modern spacecraft are designed with a safe mode that can be triggered manually just for cases involving heavy solar activity. Believe it or not, those of us on the spacecraft industry do plan ahead from time to time.

Comment "antivax" people (Score 5, Informative) 416

The use of vaccines is a public health necessity; vaccines are by far the most cost effective tool we have for preventing the spread of communicable diseases.

There have always been controversies about vaccines: there is non-zero risk to individuals from any medical treatment, and significant benefit to the population as a whole. As a single individual, you remove the (very small) risk by not having the vaccine, and you gain most all of the benefits if most everyone else around you has been vaccinated.

Spreading fear and misinformation about the safety of vaccines can cause direct, measurable and irreversible harm. Measuring the connection between a medical treatment and possible harmful effects is something drug companies can do very well, and the FDA approvals process (when it works) keeps the companies honest. We have solid, irrefutable and repeatable scientific evidence that shows vaccines do not cause these diseases, like autism.

The best article covering this was in the Bad Astronomy blog from Discover, aptly titled Antivax Kills.

Comment Re:H.264 is ISO/IEC 14496-10, not a de facto stand (Score 3, Informative) 400

Do we have to play words? We both know that, at the very least, a considerable proportion (I dare say, a majority) of Linux users prefer FOSS over non-FOSS, and at the very least, open standards unencumbered by patents (and associated fees) to closed ones. The fact that many of them still use proprietary software (and hardware with such) - NVidia drivers, Android etc - does not change that. It just means that sometimes, pragmatism outweighs purism. It's not black & white, after all.

It doesn't mean that they like that state of affairs, however. Back when GIF was patented, I haven't heard of anyone disabling that code in their browsers - but there was, nonetheless, a big campaign in support of a switch to PNG.

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