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Comment Standard old-fart rant about new media (Score 1) 302

The whole article reeks of "fake effects were so much realer in my day". While his underlying point about ongoing desensitisation in society is valid, the focus on "pixels" as the new bad guy is merely echoing the same old complaints about new-fangled technology that we've heard since Plato.

At the time, when spectators saw red stuff, they saw blood.

No, they saw fake blood, as stated a couple sentences earlier. Imagine how much more genuine the actors' expressions would've been with REAL blood! But that isn't used because it has a few notable drawbacks, so a realistic fake is acceptable. Does it really matter what medium is used to produce the fake effect, if it's realistic?

Take explosions. People have been blown up (unconvincingly) in movies for a long time, but because setting off large pyrotechnics next to your talent is generally frowned upon by their agents, those are shot separately and composited later despite the extra acting challenge this requires. But if modern CGI allows us to send limbs flying without crippling insurance payouts, could this not be more realistic than practical effects?

But it's the movie examples TFA gives that really undercut the whole argument. Claiming that the biggest problem in Bats vs Supes was the pixels is going to induce severe rolling-eyes damage in anybody who's actually watched it.

Comment Re:5 years too late (Score 0) 159

Well, sure his prototype Dynabook was a portable, rechargeable, personal computer with GUI, multimedia, and wireless communications, and it's undeniably true that his 1972 design was highly influential on Xerox's later UI work (and thus Apple's), and he may indeed be one of the true fathers of modern computing - but his invention didn't have "flat rectangular panels with rounded corners", did it? So no dice.

Comment Re: WTF? (Score 5, Informative) 760

Another person who thinks taxes are the government "taking" your money. It's an exchange - in return, you get roads, security, stability, infrastructure, many public services, and a range of safety nets if/when you are no longer able to earn money.

And yes, you have a choice. You're free to opt out of this social contract at any time, by leaving the country. (Also by making your income low enough to avoid taxes, or high enough to avoid taxes.)

Comment Re:We should speed this up (Score 1) 263

Anyone suggesting that eliminating CO2 completely is even on the table is an obvious troll.

And yet the /. hivemind rated him +5, Insightful.

Wait, you're serious? You actually believe that's what he meant? How on earth did you manage to interpret his comment to mean something that is so obviously impossible? Can you not even see the possibility that when he said "eliminating CO2", he meant "eliminating some CO2", not "all CO2"?? I could only assume your misinterpretation was deliberate.

But nowhere do they say *all* of it. Just enough to get it back to comfortable levels, like 300ppm.

Actually, it would probably be better to set it to higher levels.

Perhaps if you were blinkered enough to see only the benefits, none of the downsides, and completely overlook the massive adaption costs and human suffering along the way.

That way, we can grow enough crops to feed the population

Case in point. CO2 is just one essential input for plant growth, along with water, oxygen, nutrient-rich soil, and lots of sunlight. Increasing only CO2 without also increasing the others will do nothing, except perhaps in tropical forests where the other necessities are over-abundant. It would certainly have no effect in most farmland in the mid-West or Europe, where crops are mostly water- and sunlight-limited, respectively.

The fact that you think adding even more CO2 will make up for insufficient soil nutrients (currently provided by those fertilisers you apparently feel are toxic) shows that you really haven't thought this through.

Comment Re: The ego... (Score 1) 428

AM/FM radio still has commercials and does in fact pay the music industry

In theory, at least. In practice, perhaps the other way around. Payola has a history as old as radio itself.

The foremost concern of music publishers is control of their market. Ad-hoc free internet streaming undercuts that. They only want free services that are under their thumbs, where they can shape demand to funnel buyers towards income collectors.

I do have some sympathy for artists like Reznor though, as they're the first to suffer when the publishers feel the squeeze. Well, and before then too. And maybe not so much Trent himself, but all the lesser-known artists who had to sign punitive contracts in order to be heard at all in the publisher-controlled market.

Comment Re:Australia had the UNESCO report censored. (Score 1) 145

Interesting to hear your perspective. Do you have any references that show more general examples? I'm going on the various LCoE studies that all show onshore wind to be already competitive with coal and gas, even without any carbon price, which would appear to contradict your experiences. These tables show that while wind maintenance is indeed more than coal or gas, this is more than offset by the savings on fuel and other variable costs.

Solar PV is not far behind, and is already considerably cheaper than solar thermal (and getting cheaper still -"Capital costs have fallen 60% in the past four years and could drop a further 40% reports Deutsche Bank"). Small-scale solar PV is of course less efficient, but still provides attractive payback times to consumers and free power for many years to come - while coal LCoEs are only projected to increase, especially if carbon costs are considered (as they need to be).

Comment Re: I wonder (Score 1) 72

Do you have any sources I can follow up? I'm just going on the various popular reports of his work from the last few years, most of which more or less say what I said. I know there has been a pretty wide range of reactions from musicians though; certainly some disliked his work, even getting angry.

I'm no musical expert myself though, so I'm interested in learning more specific details and criticisms.

Comment Re:Australia had the UNESCO report censored. (Score 1) 145

Has it occurred to you that the main reason existing fossil energy is cheap is mostly just because of scale and infrastructure?

After all, solar, wind, geothermal, tidal etc all have zero fuel costs - no mining, no fuel storage and transport, just maintenance (and even that's usually a lot less). The great majority of the cost is construction - and that always gets cheaper with scale (just look at solar's price curve for the last few years). There's also still plenty of room for technological efficiency improvement. These factors also apply to storage, where required. So there's certainly no reason to assume that renewable energy is inherently more expensive than fossil fuel; generally the opposite.

Comment Re: I wonder (Score 1) 72

Check out David Cope's work. He deconstructed Bach's music into an underlying grammatical theory, generalised it to other composers, then built EMI, a program to analyze music for stylistic patterns, then to use his musical grammar to create a full composition in that style. Later he wrote Emily Howell, which can do grammar-based compositions in its own synthesised style. You might be surprised how good the pieces are.

Google is taking a very different approach, and time will tell how successful it will be. Clearly it's not yet up to other work in algorithmic music, but given their notable recent successes in intuitive computing fields like Go, I will be watching developments eagerly.

Comment Re:Australia had the UNESCO report censored. (Score 1) 145

so where is the revenue from the now defunct dirty polluters going to come from, the revenue that was promised to the people to offset the costs of going green?

That's a ways off yet, but by then, the industry adaption schemes will be done with, the renewables early-investment subsidies won't be needed any longer (as the market will have matured to cover the whole energy sector), and the consumer tax cuts can be slowly scaled back, if needed.

Remember also that getting off coal will save hundreds of billions annually in the US alone, mostly in avoided health costs ($1.7 trillion over the whole OECD). So overall we'll be significantly better off.

Comment Re:Australia had the UNESCO report censored. (Score 1) 145

I absolutely agree - you can't shut down big polluters overnight; as you say, it's the workers that suffer the most. Adaption schemes are essential to a stable economy, and any reasonable approach will take years to slowly phase in any big changes to the rules.

We can't keep heedlessly burning coal now that we know so much more about what it's costing our health, let alone environmental impacts, so those workers are just going to have find new jobs, if they can - but we can and certainly should make the transition as easy for them as possible. Common decency, as you say.

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