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Comment Re:Tech solution for a social problem (Score 1) 405

Only 10% deaths due to distracted driving? Then what are the other 90%? There was a news article recently claiming 65% of the deaths were due to daydreaming, and 15% to phones etc.

How about requiring the driver to solve a captcha every two minutes by speaking the letters. The gummint could make money on this!

They're looking at tech solutions because they are easy and fun, compared to social solutions.

Comment That would be Debian Testing (Score 1) 766

I've been running Debian Testing on my desktop for over 10 years. It is continuously upgraded, and that includes all the apps, not just the OS. Never reinstalled it. And it's totally free/libre.

I expect to keep running it for the next ten years.

I have a cron that downloads the updates, which I like to apply by hand ("apt-get upgrade") every few days, so I can watch what's going on. But most of that could be done by cron, if you wanted to take a bit of risk (similar to what you take when you apply MS updates).

Comment Re:Atol Growth Tracks Sea Level - Darwin (Score 1) 360

We are not talking only about low-level atols.

Atols maintain their elevation wrt sea level: if sea level drops, wind erosion lowers the atol. If sea level rises, the coral (yes - underwater) builds the reef higher. Beaked fish, e.g. parrotfish, and wave action partially reduce the face of the reef to sand and rubble, which is deposited on the atol above waterline. The coral has no trouble keeping up with sea level rise, about a foot in a century. The real problem is decimation of the fish by hunting. That can slow or halt the build up of coral sand.

For vegetation to grow on the atol, fresh water is needed. This comes from the lagoon enclosed by the atol, and is contained in a "fresh water lens" that is slightly above sea level under the atol. If the lagoon is breached or allowed to dry out and fill with sand, the atol becomes a coral island. To keep this from happening, the lagoon mush be protected and fresh water must be carefully conserved. Coral islands may have much less water, due to run-off, unless vegetation is firmly established and not destroyed in a typhoon.

These facts have been confirmed since Darwin first proposed his theory of atol growth.

A recent, refereed article studied the surface area of 27 atols in the Central Pacific. 86% of them increased in area or remained the same as sea level rose over a 20 to 60 period.

Global and Planetary Change, Article in Press, Accepted Manuscript, doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2010.05.003

The dynamic response of reef islands to sea level rise: evidence from multi-decadal analysis of island change in the central pacific

Comment Re:Cards should not be mailed. Period. (Score 1) 220

USPS has Priority mail for speed and Certified First Class for on-line tracking, with and without signature confirmation, with and without a hard copy receipt of delivery ("return confirmation"). Then there is Registered mail, which is insurable and kept under lock and key until delivered. These services are much cheaper than FedEx.

There is also USPS Express Mail - next day delivery with tracking. It's essentially equivalent to FedEx, and delivers to PO Boxes, which FedEx won't do.

Comment Re:Suicide Rates (Score 1) 476

If you are one of the small group that are going to commit suicide anyway, when the word gets around that you can do something for your family /and/ make a statement, then you are more likely to jump off the roof at Foxconn than do it at home at night.

Comment It Ain't Torvalds (Score 1) 373

Linus is pretty agnostic when it comes to blobs - he's "practical". So there is a lot of secret, proprietary software in the kernel, often under NDA.

If you are talking about spyware at the middleware and app level, his kernel isn't involved.

If you want to thank someone, that would be Stallman and the Free Software Foundation. They are the ones who have been fighting this fight for 25 years, won in the copyright arena, but now moving into the software patent and trusted computing arenas.

The "trusted computing" (i.e. trusted by industry, not you) initiative is still alive. OP is a part of that, and deadly dangerous to free software. They are trying to block you from the internet unless your software is signed by approved authorities, bottom to top, and immutable. Refer to the FSF for more information.

If you are looking for a totally free GNU/Linux with no kernel blobs and no non-free applications, look at gNewSense. I have it running on a Lemote Yeeloong. Even the bios is free software. The kernel is a deblobbed linux kernel derived from the linux-libre project.

Comment Re:Feedback? (Score 1) 383

Why not require that scanners incorporate an independent detector that measures the amount X-ray energy?

This is already a requirement of 21CFR1020.33:

(2)Timers. (i) Means shall be provided to terminate the x-ray exposure automatically by either deenergizing the x-ray source or shuttering the x-ray beam in the event of equipment failure affecting data collection. Such termination shall occur within an interval that limits the total scan time to no more than 110 percent of its preset value through the use of either a backup timer or devices which monitor equipment function. A visible signal shall indicate when the x-ray exposure has been terminated through these means and manual resetting of the CT conditions of operation shall be required prior to the initiation of another scan.

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One good reason why computers can do more work than people is that they never have to stop and answer the phone.