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Comment Re:Typical . . . (Score 4, Interesting) 268

I have done it, literally, multiple times. I am the IT director of a privately owned manufacturing company. I report directly to the owner, and "this will be back for the company" is my trump card. Of course, I do not use it all that often, and of course, before I play it, I write page long arguments why I think so.

So, yes, a IT head duty is exactly to explain to his boss why something is a bad idea. Of course, I will obey an order from the owners to do something - it is their company, and they will bear the losses. But as I have explained to them, maaaaybe in not these exact words, if they think I don't know how to do my job, maybe they should hire someone whom they think know how to do it better.

Has my career ground to a halt? Well, I've had the position since 1997. So I guess it is technically halted. But I honestly do not mind where I am.

Comment Re:Dignity? (Score 1) 118

I'd say they have too much of it, for being bothered by such things.

This is something that is simply outside of my frame of reference. Speaking for myself:
1) I cannot fathom why anyone would be interested in a picture of me, naked, and I do not think that I am particularly unattractive.
2) I do not remember a time where I would have been bothered by people seeing a naked picture of mine, especially one as demure as standing there and holding an ID card. There was a time, after breaking a few ribs, and gaining 15 pounds really quickly, I actually took a picture of myself, bare chested, or rather bare bellied... I still keep it, to remind myself what happens when I get out of shape. But I make no secret of it, my wife knew of it before she married me, and she's been telling the story...
3) It is beyond trivial to take a picture of yourself, holding your ID, naked or clothed, and combine it with a picture of a naked body that no one who knows you will think is yours. Sure, you have to mess with the image afterwards to erase the most common telltales... a google or two will teach you enough.
4) I know models who get paid less for photoshoots I find more embarrassing than a simple naked picture.

Comment Re: And then those employees burn down your restau (Score 1) 1023

And hoodlum behavior is only going to be a problem until the owners get to deploy automated, armored, mobile area denial systems, using microwaves, lasers, infra-sound, or whatever. When this happens, they will not even need to bullshit us with the excuse "We are doing this because of minimum wages". Seriously, guys. If you were not doing it now with a $35K robot instead of a $15 minwage peon, you were going to do it five years from now with a $10K robot instead of a $5 minwage peon.

There is no way around it. A number of low skilled jobs will get replaced with a few medium skilled ones (designing, building and maintaining the robots) and a few low skilled ones (running them and dealing with extreme deviation customers)

As for society as a whole, it will either will have to focus on providing comfortable lifestyles for those who are superfluous, or decide that they are no worth bothering with, and tune the laws so that they are easy to put out of sight. And if you think that have-nots will small arms will scare violence professionals and engineers unfettered by laws, you are an idiot.

Last year, I did not give a fuck, as both me and my wife think we are going to be useful or wealthy for long enough (MIT grads, six digit jobs, comfortable, paid for home, etc...) Six days before my 50th birthday, my daughter was born, and now we are ecstatic, but scared shitless.

All of a sudden, "Fuck everyone, I got mine" is not longer a sound policy. Now I have to worry, should I try to guide her to Lego Technics or bogu and bokken... and for the first time in my life I feel that maybe I should have focused harder on making money instead of enjoying what I do for a living.

Comment Re: Who is Dan McCarthy? (Score 1) 91

And my FIOS connection has become absolutely horrible since. Yesterday, I had a movie stop for buffering three times in the first hour - it was not so good, so I gave up at some point.

In the evening, my bandwidth is 1/10th of what it used to be. Between 12am and 2am, I experience periods of total inaccessibility.

I have more or less stopped gaming and I have a lot less time for movies as we recently had a baby girl. But a few years ago, I'd have been screaming bloody murder and would have been looking for alternatives. Now... meh.

Comment Re:I'm certainly serious .... (Score 1) 921

Sure. We'll use the materials we do not have to build the space elevator to support the ships we do not have which will fly to the habitable planets we don't know about using FTL technology we think is impossible.

And how long until the colonized planets (terraformed? pacified? coming with pre-built infrastructure?) can produce anything that will be useful back on Earth? Of course, after being lifted to orbit with the space elevators on the colonized planet, carried on the ships refueled on the colonized planet, etc...

There is a reason the discussions on Facebook are a lot more interesting. The ones doing the discussing are unencumbered by knowledge and capacity for logical thought.

Comment Re: civil unrest, war, etc. (Score 1) 921

I cannot believe that you are serious. Of course, if you are, you are absolutely incapable of rational thought.

What on Earth makes you think that privatized, of all things, space travel will be used to ship people who are deemed useless on Earth to a planet that is likely to be much less hospitable to human life? If new planets are open to colonization, they will be the destination of the best and brightest, unless life there is one step up from Hell, in which case the colonists will be one step up from slaves.

One of three things will happen:
- the ruling class will find it in its heart to provide some pittance to keep the 'obsolete' masses happy
- the masses will raise up to kill and loot those they view as their oppressors, throwing society back to early industrial times at best
- automated weapon systems will be good enough to isolate the powerful from the unneeded. The resources will stay on the obviously side of that divide.

Space travel will not change the above one little bit. If anything, it will exacerbate the divide between (1) those with power, (2) the people who can serve them, and (3) the rest. If you an in (1) good for you. If you are in (2) lets work together to try and remain useful. If you are in (3) good luck.

Comment Re:Pew Pew Pew (Score 1) 208

Shame on you to even suggest such a thing! It is illegal to design blinding weapons.

Within the power range the article is talking about (only about 150MJ in a gallon of aviofuel) the laser will be barely powerful enough to melt any amount of aluminum to get at the electronics behind it. It is clear that this weapon system is designed to disrupt sensors and optics. Any damage to pilots' (or civilians') eyes is just a side effect, which is A-OK, legally speaking... As I am sure any military lawyer will happily tell you.

This will be one of these 'nasty' weapons:
Stage 1) We got them, everyone else is protesting them, but that's because they are backward savages who can't make them.
Stage 2) We have to keep making those horrible weapons, because our evil enemies have developed and will hesitate to use them.
Stage 3) There is an international treaty against those horrible, horrible weapons, but we will not sign it, because we know those no-good other nations will keep using them no matter what they've promised.

How much sarcastic am I? Frankly, dear, I have no clue.

Comment Re:Not funneled into (Score 1) 284

You and I can play tick-tack-toe and unless one of us isn't paying any attention at all, whoever goes first will always be the winner.

I hope that tick-tack-toe is a different game involving ticks and tacks, and not the tic-tac-toe I know. Because if both players are over 5 years old and have an IQ over 50, the game I know is always drawn.

Comment Re:Whatever else he is (Score 1) 185

If it becomes possible, it will not be available to the like of us (I have over a million in savings, but I would rather spend them on my little girl)

Immortality for the rich will probably precipitate social strife like never before. At the end, the world will either end a police state or a place where immortality is banned. If there are ever rich people who extend their lives for hundreds of years, they will either do it secretly, or while ruling over sentients they consider even less human that the truly rich consider the rest of us.

Comment Re:Manufacturer's responsibility (Score 4, Insightful) 401

Oh, yes, definitely, the manual for the Chinese drone should include all the relevant air safety laws for your location. Just like my Japanese Supra came with a copy of the California Driver Handbook. Oh, wait, it did not!

Knowing the applicable laws is the user's responsibility. The drone's documentation should contain what's applicable to the drone, not a compendium of all laws governing the use of airspace from the North to the South pole. Even if the local regulations required that the relevant laws are included with the drone, it would be probably left to the local distributor to do so.

Comment Re:Three words (Score 1) 460

I have not done that one, but I did something close.

When I came to the US, in the early 90s, I brought all the code I had ever written with me. It included some pretty interesting stuff (I did a lot of assembly programming in Bulgaria, in the late 80s) so it was compressed, encrypted, and contained a second, hidden archive that contained the really 'interesting' stuff.

I forgot the password... and I forgot it in the dumbest possible way - it was a longish English phrase, and my English at the time was bad enough that I did not know how to spell one of the words. By the time I needed some of the stuff, I had learned the correct spelling, and could not get to my code.

Much, much later, around 2012, I found the hard drive, and miraculously, it worked. I brute forced it, which I could have done much earlier, but it was never important enough, and it turned out that I had misspelled 'gnarly'. I had some good times going through my 30 year old stuff, as well as seeing what I considered indispensable software at the time. It's hard to believe that we used to write programs that did useful stuff and were less than 256 bytes long.

Comment Re:18 machine guns? (Yawn!) (Score 2) 60

I wish people would make at least an attempt at informing themselves before they try to be authoritative about things they do not understand.

First of all, the Dushki in questions are Ms, which means that they are not from the Thirties. They date at the very least from the late Forties, and were manufactured well into the Eighties. I remember when we started replacing them in Bulgaria, and we were manufacturing the NSV (Nikitin-Sokolov-Volkov) ourselves. Countries that did not manufacture the superseding machine guns (NSV or Kord) must have kept theirs. In the early 2000s, the DShks were still one of the most common heavy machine gun. They are not obsolete by any means.

Second, those guns have proved themselves against relatively modern planes and helicopters, as the British (for some reason) have been learning through the Eighties, Nineties and Oughts.

Third, this heavy machine gun is a pretty solid piece of work. The barrel you have to keep keep replacing anyway, if you ever use it in earnest, but the rest of it is solid and lasts for long time. I remember tinkering with the three heavies we had in the 80s in Bulgaria, and the dushka was the one with the simplest, most solid inner workings.

Fourth, I am sure that GAU-19 and Kord are much superior, but those are probably orders of magnitude more expensive, and probably impossible to get unless you are well connected (which unfortunately describes the people in whose facilities ISIS goes shopping) So a DShk is still a very desirable machine gun, and in a completely different class from RPKs, let alone good ole AKs and their ilk.

So, no, these are not museum pieces, but rather effective death dealing machines.

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