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Comment Re:It sounds more attractive with every detail (Score 1) 206

Look at the options though.
Option one: Enjoy a long, healthy life on earth. Raise a family if you can. Grow old. Spent the last decade of your life in a care home as your mind decays before dying of natural causes. Your immediate family will mourn you for a few years, but in the end you will leave no legacy but a headstone.
Option two: Volunteer for the mars colony mission in thirty years and head off. Spend your life advancing mankind, breaking new ground, and solving exciting problems on the frontier. Enjoy seeing the whole world follow the exploits of you and your team, via somewhat-delayed radio link. Die of radiation-induced cancer ten years later because Mars' medical facilities are still lacking compared to those of Earth. Have a mountain named after you.

Lots of people will pick option two. You're dead either way in the end.

Comment Re:No Von Neuman Machines yet (Score 1) 206

What available resources? Mars has no petrochemicals. It's very rich in iron, which is certainly nice, and I'm sure there are other metals you can find and mine - but doing so needs industrial machines, and smelting/refining equipment, and a lot of power.

I do think that eventual colonisation is a worthwhile goal to pursue. In the spirit of exploration, and advancement, and as insurance against a possible planet-wide disaster. But I also know that realistically, it's probably going to be the single most expensive project in the history of mankind to date and on a time scale of a century or more. But this is the time to start laying the foundations that later generations will build upon. I don't expect to see a self-sustaining mars colony any time soon, but someone has to start the project - even knowing they won't see it finished.

Right now, those foundations mean developing a safer, more reliable and cheaper means of getting there and landing, and eventually a limited-duration manned research mission. Small steps, but the eager potential-Martians of 2080 will thank us for laying the groundwork.

Comment Re:I have one of those watches (Score 1) 417

They are not complex, but they are precision - tolerances are tiny fractions of a millimeter. On parts that can wear down over time, or corrode, or get coated in dust. This is why responsible gun owners recognize the importance of maintaining their gun. If you buy a gun for self-defense and just leave it sitting by the bed for ten years, when someone really does come to rob your house it may well just jam. Or explode and take your fingers off.

Comment Re:No they won't. (Score 1) 417

It goes both ways. The gun rights lobby opposes any and all forms of regulation, even the most common-sense, because they fear exactly the scenario you describe: If the government is allowed any power to regulate guns, that power could be deliberately mis-applied to restrict access.

This is why there has been intense opposition to things like restrictions on high-capacity magazines, or requiring less environmentally-damaging alternatives to lead shot.

The situation is paralleled in abortion, and has a similar effect: It forces political pressure groups to the extremes. Either prohibit entirely, or allow without restriction, both of which are not what the public in general desires.

Comment Re:And hackers everywhere are twitling their musta (Score 1) 111

Most piracy is torrented, but there is one area where streams rule: Sports.

Sports fans really want to watch sports live. Which means streaming. And there's a lot of money in sports broadcasting - channels pay for exclusive broadcast rights, they want to make sure that is what they get.

Comment Re:How this will work (Score 2) 111

What you just described is the old CPSA system - Content Protection System Architecture. It was envisioned by content creators as an interlocking set of DRM technologies that would protect content end to end - it included good old CSS, along with HDCP, CPRM/CPPM, and a bunch of others. The plan was simple: In order to play encrypted media, a manufacturer would need to license the encryption system used. The license would prohibit outputting of any protected content in any form other than degraded (ie, no HD) analog or encrypted digital, so the next step in the chain would have to license that encryption, and so on. A key feature was to be a watermark which would by included in all encrypted content. If any device ever detected the watermark on a non-encrypted input it would have to assume the content to be unauthorised and disable that input.

So, for example, even if someone cracked protection on blu-ray and uploaded the disc to The Bay, when you tried to play it back your monitor would detect the watermark present on your non-encrypted DVI port and disable the image.

The CPSA vision of a single unified DRM framework never really worked out. The watermark part was never completed, and so many key elements were cracked that the businesses sponsoring the initiative lost faith in it. But it does have some relics today, as a lot of DRM technologies still in common use had their origins in CPSA.

Comment Re:Don't laugh this off! (Score 2) 111

Don't forget macrovision. One of the lesser-known provisions of the DMCA says that all video recorders in the US need to either include the design defect that allowed macrovision to jam their recording ability, or circuitry to detect the macrovision signal and disable recording anyway.

This was a real bother for me trying to digitise old family videos. No macrovision on them, but the tapes were old and degraded to the point that my video capture card would often false-positive - which would result in the card driver disabling the card and replacing the image with a 'copying prohibited' message. The only way to fix it was to stop recording, exit the software and relaunch it.

Comment Re:Holy flamebait batman! (Score 1) 894

When I go to McDonald's now, I can enter my order in a touchscreen terminal near the tables. Goodbye, one job per terminal. Or three, as they need to be manned continually and that means shift work.

I can still see the army of people back in the kitchen making the food, but I've no doubt McDonald's is researching means to semi-automate their kitchens. You can't get rid of all the staff, but you can certainly cut back the numbers.

Comment Re:Holy flamebait batman! (Score 1) 894

The DNC did conspire against Bernie, but they had their reasons: They regarded him as too unreliable in the presidential election. There was a chance he would say things that were far too left-wing for the American people to accept, and his anti-corporate positions would be a serious problem in fundraising. Politics is a very expensive business, and if corporate donors refused to support Bernie it would have crippled his campaign.

The DNC were afraid that their left-wing grassroots members would nominate an unelectable candidate. In a satisfying symmetry, many in the Republican party were afraid that their right-wing grassroots members would nominate an unelectable candidate with a history of saying the most offensive things and no political experience: Trump. So the DNC did all they could to keep Bernie from winning, and the RNC did all they could to keep Trump from winning. The DNC succeeded in their aim, the RNC didn't.

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