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Comment Journalism done right (Score 2) 211

I am a former Stratfor subscriber. At $99/year it was well worth it (but babies are expensive and now every 99 bucks count). I think the Stratfor readership is not stupid and know pretty well what they are getting for their dollars. I never expected any secret intelligence or detailed first hand reporting of currents events, just a good explanation on how these pieces might fit in the big picture. I need Stratfor because traditional media are failing me. They are too easily manipulated, too hard to read, too uninterested in he truth.

I follow Max Fisher and Dan Drezner, they are very readable, but limited. I follow the cool kids / IR superstars like Dan Trombly and Andrew Exum. They are very bright, but George Friedman is much more useful because he provides a very simple and coherent framework for understanding geopolitical events past and future. Sometimes he gets things wrong, sometimes spectacularly wrong, but over the years his views have mostly stood the test of time (even if Japan and the USA haven't gone to war yet).

This attack on Stratfor really changed my opinion about Anonymous and Wikileaks. The purported reasons for the attack are not believable. It is obvious to me that this is a failed (at least for now...) act of censorship and Anonymous / Wikileaks are a front to someone who isn't interested in having Stratfor's opinions and advice polluting the USA media consensus on some issue. Things may become clearer when/if other news organizations are attacked.

Interesting times.

Comment Re:Ahh, the NYT (Score 1) 368

I don't think this is correct. The state-owned electricity company EDP was split before being privatized. REN is the company that got the electricity distribution side of the business and started as a fully public company (in 1994) before being gradually privatized. I think the journalist got it all wrong, or perhaps just the wrong country...

Comment Re:Parkinson's Law (Score 2, Informative) 281

The Governor General's Award nominees pictured on the Canada Council website are old, because they are nominated for a major award for late-career artists. These are awards for career achievement, but the Canada Council is certainly more involved with the art scene here than you think and not just for olds. I'm employed by a non-profit artist-run centre staffed entirely by under-40s, most of us in our 20s, which is supported in part by the Canada Council as well as other federal, provincial and municipal government sources, private donors and members.

In any case, this isn't where the money goes in this case. The copyright board distributes the money through SOCAN. That means that any indie band that gets radio play (and that means a lot in Canada where the radio spectrum includes very healthy college and community radio stations distinct from their US counterparts as well as the CBC, all of which are mandated to play Canadian talent that doesn't make it onto commercial radio) will get some money. And they do—not always much, but a nice benefit and a stepping stone to a successful career.

There are perfectly good reasons to be opposed to this levy, or to dislike either the SOCAN or the federal arts-funding system (especially when the whole sector is destabilized by the expectation of unknown cuts to unknown areas, as we are now—makes budgeting tricky), but totally misunderstanding both isn't a great example.

Comment Re:overall useless (Score 1) 307

What you describe are perhaps some implementation inefficiencies. Many ABS systems operate the actuators in a binary fashion, and they are not designed for variable brake pressure, only for pressure/no-pressure. There's nothing preventing a better design, only status quo.

Whatever you're claiming to be sensing so well, a computer can certainly sense better -- with proper sensors, that is. Most cars do not have a 6DOF inertial platform, even though that would be a good starting point for any decently-performing stability/traction augmentation system.

A computer-controlled antilock system, with servo actuators (vs. binary on-off valves) can, and will, in stable enough conditions, control wheel slip down to 1-2% accuracy or so. It will maintain that wheel slip way faster than you or I can. It needs an inertial platform, or at least a longitudinal acceleration sensor, to do that. The wheel speed sensors are not really reliable for estimating the vehicle speed once the wheels start locking up. You need inertial reference for that. The wheel speed sensors are only useful to compare the individual wheel's speed to that of the car, given that you already know car's speed!

You claim that ESC "uses wheel spin speeds to measure not only slippage, but vehicle travel direction" -- sorry but ESC typically uses a lateral accelerometer combined with estimate of vehicle's speed, and with steering column angle.

As for cruise control: those are purposefully designed to be soft. It's rather easy to have cruise control that will keep your speed to better than 1% under all reasonable conditions. It will need input from an inclinometer (inertial reference!). I have had a Volvo 940 wagon with a rather sloppy cruise control that I replaced with a custom controller with inclinometer, and a beefy electrical model servo to replace the original vacuum-controlled actuator. After model identification work was done (I settled on multiple FIR models), I took it for a spin in some rather hilly terrain and you could hardly see the speedometer needle move. On typical "flat" roads, it felt rock solid, and the measured speed would be within a +/- 0.5% band around the setpoint. Oh, and it worked down to 10mph, not to the silly factory 25mph limit.

The biggest point with "solid" cruise control is that other cars aren't solid at all, so on highway it may be advantageous to have piss-poor PID-based stock cruise control -- it will maintain inter-car distance much better if the car in front of you is on cruise control, too.

Comment Re:No option but to vote with wallet (Score 1) 309

As far as the updating goes... Every game I've got has an option to control how the game is updated. I can tell it to only update manually if I want to. Yes, the default is to update automatically.

Except when you first install (or reinstall) the game, the update is mandatory before you play. You can turn off updates AFTER that is completed, but you have to endure that initial download.

Since there are some mods that only worked with certain versions (and were never updated) this feature has been a continuous annoyance. Furthermore, you can't chose which version you want; if you want to upgrade from version 1.0 to version 1.4, but the latest version is v1.5, you are getting v1.5.

I have no objection automatic updates for those who want it, but they need to make it so you can completely opt out and stick with the original release version if you want, or manually select the patch version you specify.

But who am I kidding? Giving customers control of the product they paid for? That'll never fly.

Comment Re:Outstanding. (Score 1) 492

This is a paranoid fantasy. It is uselesss to analyse imaginary enemies instead of real societies. There is a real society out there, with complex balances of power and its own political logic. Surprise: they don't want to die!

Read what you have typed: when you call the leader of the bad guys insane it always means you are living in an ideological delusion.

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