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Comment More tax breaks for the oil companies next year? (Score 3, Insightful) 411

Wonder how much more of a tax break the oil companies will get because of this. My understanding is that they get a write-off as they deplete a reserve. It is sort of like a capital depreciation. I wonder if the reserve estimate will change that calculation resulting in larger tax breaks since they will have a depleted their asset at a faster rate than previously expected.

Comment Re:No. (Score 1) 1486

Fair enough. I can't fully explain how someone who had a traumatizing brain injury seen on an X-ray taken at one hospital and then a blessing was performed, the patient shipped to another hospital and all trace of the injury vanished on the next X-ray, but it happened. Just because it hasn't happened to you, doesn't mean faith-based healings or other miracles aren't real and repeatable. Maybe I don't have the theological training required to explain it, but I don't need to. It's something useful that happened to me and millions like me.

I'm sorry but you are wrong. What you described DOES NOT happen to millions. First off the vast majority of X-ray results give consistent results. If they didn't, they wouldn't be used to assist diagnosis. However, hospital's are not research labs, where experiments are verified and carefully examined before publication. They are production lines and like any production lines have a certain error rate. Misidentification of the actual X-ray, i.e. wrong patient, wrong X-ray examination, instrument malfunction, etc are likely causes.

Next miracles by definition do not happen everyday as a regular occurrence. Miracles are the exception that is used to justify the whole. Science uses the exceptions to refine or on occasion to offer a whole new explanation.

Can you imagine ANY religion taking an unexpected exception, e.g. a miracle and using that as a basis to say "Everything we have been saying for the last 100 years (1000 years) is wrong." And I don't mean a sect breaking off and forming a new religion.

Science does exactly that on a regular basis. Some theories have amassed so much evidence that they would take larger and larger exceptions to enable a new theory to supplant it, but is possible. When plate tectonics was proposed, it engendered a great deal of debate. But we didn't end up with Orthodox Geologists and New Revelations Geologists. The geologists who continued to try to prove the old theories, failed to do so. While the geologists using the theory of plate tectonics continued to make predictions and find more evidence that supported those predictions, i.e. delivered results.

Comment Re:Sci-fi isn't about the technology (Score 1) 342

I agree. That is the reason that something like Gateway would make a really good film. It is has a very complex, flawed character that is interesting. You have plenty of imagery stuff with the Heechee station and exploring things ala Indiana Jones. You have people signing up for missions with outcomes that would make even a diehard Saw fan cringe. You have sex. Sex in space even. And sequel material.

Comment Location does work without GPS (Score 1) 750

The iPad does use WiFi to locate you just like the Touch and the iPhone when unable to get a GPS signal. My iPad had my location with in 200 yards. I live in a small city in Indiana. Those in more urban areas should be just fine.

For short typing in works just fine. For longer typing at least some sort of prop for the lap would be great. I can't wait for my case from Apple to arrive that will give me that ability. The other alternative is a wireless keyboard.

It is fast.

I can't echo CmdrTaco's notion about anonymous mode enough. Even as I started to open the box with my wife and 10 year old son eagerly looking on, I could tell this thing needs a guest mode. Something that just disables access to mail and the keychain.

Awesome device. I think as developers and designers get their hands on this, like the iPhone the value will just grow.

Comment This could stop patent trolls (Score 1) 193

These suits are against companies asserting patent rights over things that the DO NOT own patents for. The basic defense being offered is "I've done it so much, I couldn't possibly pay the penalty. So the only option is to not hold me accountable!" That basically says that if a robber robs enough people he shouldn't be put in prison. (Sort of the like the banks in America.)

This puts a penalty on asserting patent rights all over the place when you don't have them. Asserting a patent right, blocks competitors who might produce the same thing cheaper.

If companies have to pay a penalty for not keeping track of their patent assertions, then they will be more circumspect in asserting them. That means less frivolous patents.

Substantive, meaningful patents actually work well. The problem is incentives to overwhelm the system which is what is currently being done.

Comment Re:That Explains The Updated SDK (Score 1) 1010

Sounds like an iPad can:
* write a report (Pages)
* basics stats work (Numbers)
* PDF annotation - maybe (Preview?) though there are other apps already out that will edit Office docs
* ssh to a more powerful computer (already apps for that)

However, the iPad is not marketed as a computer, unlike a netbook. I see a VERY small number of iPad buyers even knowing what ssh is.

The iPad is NOT for computer users.

The iPad is for people that happen to use computers to get things done.

If you can't understand the distinction, you'll be scratching your head for a long time trying to understand why Apple is selling so many of them. Just like iPods and iPhones before now.

Comment Re:Data management problem (Score 2, Insightful) 98

I'm afraid you are limited by a short time horizon. I remember working and computing on systems where 100MB was just as difficult and expensive to deal with as 100PB is today. 2MB was the amount of mountable storage on small systems. Anything larger and you had to go to "big iron".

Real work was done on those small systems and good scientific principles and methods were they key then and the key now.

Just remember that the "laptop" 10 years from now will have over 8TB local SSD.

I operate an archive for the university. 10 years ago when we started it, a 10MB file was considered a pretty big file. Today it is the smallest size file we like to see stored in the archive. We store several PB's and I consider ours a small archive. A 100PB in a few years will be nothing. But those 100Exabyte files... now those will be difficult to work with. It will be "difficult to find hardware capable of storing that much data."


Comment Manned or unmanned? (Score 1) 343

If manned, a ton of payload doesn't leave much for environmentals for a 2 man crew deployed even for a week at a time. The artist has windows which indicates manned flights.

Unmanned and I would be VERY concerned about losing control and it drifting into Pakistan or Russia. Airspace violation, technology theft, the list goes on and on.

Of course even manned flights might suffer the same fate. At least with an unmanned system, you can shoot it down if it floats too close to enemy hands. If it is manned, you will need to consider scuttle options.

Comment Re:Thoroughly enjoyed it! (Score 1) 705

Actually it seemed like a little bit of Alien Nation as a setting, with a mix of The Fly, Enemy Mine, ET Mad Max, and Starship Troopers.

A couple of the scenes were so screaming of The Fly (1986) that I thought it was an homage to it.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the movie and it had me on the edge of my seat until the end. It was such a dark movie that until the end you could see the director going a number of different ways.

I think what made this a really good movie was that the special effects and camera perspectives made it very believable. In most sci-fi the alien is elevated to such a big think that every time they show one it is the central focus. In this, the aliens are not of the focus of most of the shots.

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