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Comment Re:Not interesting (Score 2) 85

Not to nitpick, but "survival of the fittest" is one of the greatest misconceptions out there. A male peacock without huge plumes would be far more efficient in mobility. But since the plumage attracts females, the selection pressure is tilted in a direction having little to do with direct survival characteristics. Indeed we often do NOT see the "fittest" survive, but rather species that specialize and carve out little niches. This also explains why the biodiversity we observe exists.

Comment Lost yard equipment to E10. Now I'm more careful. (Score 1) 375

I didn't really care about the difference between 100% gas and E10. I thought it was a bunch of hoopla from competing political interests. Then I lost a trimmer and a tiller to ethanol's corrosive powers. Within a couple of weeks of being fueled with E10, both had developed holes in the gas tanks and were dead. Happily my mower didn't suffer the same fate.

The moral? Don't let E10 sit in your trimmer or other yard equipment. In fact, use 100% gas in them when possible.

Comment It's all about containment. (Score 1) 390

The likely concern the government has with this publicly-available classified information is the chance that someone with legitimate access to related information might download and (perhaps unintentionally) combine it with unclassified information. That act causes the all that data to become classified... thus causing an information "spillage" on many unclassified systems. Cleaning up classified information spillages is very expensive for the government... even minor ones.

Thus the main idea here is to stop this problem from occurring before Murphy's Law can take effect. Nothing sinister, just pragmatic.


The State of Ruby VMs — Ruby Renaissance 89

igrigorik writes "In the short span of just a couple of years, the Ruby VM space has evolved to more than just a handful of choices: MRI, JRuby, IronRuby, MacRuby, Rubinius, MagLev, REE and BlueRuby. Four of these VMs will hit 1.0 status in the upcoming year and will open up entirely new possibilities for the language — Mac apps via MacRuby, Ruby in the browser via Silverlight, object persistence via Smalltalk VM, and so forth. This article takes a detailed look at the past year, the progress of each project, and where the community is heading. It's an exciting time to be a Rubyist."

Comment Re:Free market (Score 1, Insightful) 555

The problem with the "free market" is it isn't free -- the big players have made sure that nobody will ever be able to compete with them thanks to lock-ins, onerous penalties on contracts, and other anti-competitive measures. Not to mention the billions of dollars necessary to start a cell phone service on a national level.

"Free markets" are a myth; you either have regulation or monopoly. Neither of which are very desirable, but that's the way things work outside an Ayn Rand book.

Comment Another standard approved today (Score 4, Funny) 115

In related news, the same body has approved a special security packet encapsulator consisting of pigmented lipids that bond the rolled packet together, with a special imprinted signature to establish non-deniability of the transmitter and ensure the packet has not been intercepted and examined by third parties.

The standard was submitted for approval in '02.

That is, 0002.

Comment HTML 5? (Score 2, Interesting) 417

I think Adblock may do more harm than good. With all the major browsers moving towards HTML 5, advertisers will have many more opportunities to inject intrusive advertising into web content with simple CSS commands. We have already seen CSS-layer popups that require JavaScript to be enabled to make them go away -- which then allows the other ads to display.

At some point these industries have to make money, and they only make money from advertising. There has to be a decent middle ground here.

Comment Re:Peak Oil necessitates energy conservation (Score 1) 874

The problem is that we are basing our species' survival on a resource that was already formed when the dinosaurs first showed up. "Market forces" tend to be more like collapses and disasters, rather than gradual shifts. I think I would rather transition to renewable energy smoothly, than Use the Market Force, Luke. Because there definitely is a Dark Side to it.

Comment Re:Spinrite works miracles (Score 4, Informative) 399

Same here. At $89, SpinRite is a bit on the pricey side, but I have recovered data from hard drives that I thought I had zero chance of saving. I figure since it saved hundreds of dollars in labor -- several times -- it was worth every penny. Especially in those circumstances where your highly paid datacenter techs thought it was a great idea to construct a RAID 5 from all identical hard drives from the exact same manufacturer lot. Sucks when two of those drives experience the exact same fault within a few minutes of each other. Fortunately I was able to whip out SpinRite and save the day, because otherwise we were looking at days and days of restoring from incremental backup tapes.

It's an ancient-looking DOS command-line utility, but I definitely give props to Steve Gibson for keeping SpinRite up to date to where it works on modern hard drives. $89 versus days and days of overtime pay for IT guys -- it certainly made me look pretty good come performance review time.

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