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Comment Battery-related paranoia (Score 5, Interesting) 77

We looked at using these kinds of batteries for an engineering applicant for a client, so one of our engineers got a sample package of different sizes and shapes of batteries along with a handy CD of what you could and could not do with them. Unfortunately, the application involved possibly putting a battery on the end of an armature to power a light, something the disc explicitly warned against NOT doing -- it came with a nice set of exploding battery clips. Our client saw those and promptly refused to carry a cell phone in any piece of clothing attached to his body from there on it. I think his laptop no longer ever rested on his lap, either...

Comment The paradox is evident... (Score 1) 625

Germany wants to ban Nazi then people will forget what they look another generation or two, the symbolism of swastikas could conceivably be forgotten and a whole new generation of young, impressionable Germans will be reintroduced to cliched, over-the-top shooters featuring plenty of Nazi regalia because no one will known what it looks like or be able to recognize it, therefore no one will know to ban it.

Comment No One EVER Learns... (Score 1) 360

When I was working on a biology degree, the big topic du jour was Chinese honeysuckle and how it was taking over large sections of American forests, choking out native species, etc. It had the advantage of being able to start growing earlier in the spring and remain green later in the fall than most other plants (driving through Ohio, you'll see it as all the green stuff growing on hillsides along highways). It was originally introduced to help stop erosion but eventually grew out of control, just like this stuff apparently was introduced for the same reason. All the morons in the state highway departments don't seem to understand that the reasons a plant is good for erosion control is because it grows quickly and has no natural brakes on its growth and spread, unlike native species that are "balanced" with the environment. I suppose eventually you'll see an equilibrium reached, but it'll be a shame to see all the native species go extinct because of introduction of non-native species.

Comment Odd decision (Score 2, Insightful) 455

I can see that they'd want to make sure they are still driving the storyline in whatever direction they want it to go...on the other hand, given the costs of developing RPGs (in particular), with an obviously interested fanbase who'd buy something like this, it seems like they're missing an opportunity to get together with the people developing this and put it out on the DS or whatever. IIRC, there was a fan-based mod of Half Life which went on to be sold as a standalone game in its own right (can't remember the name -- like a western in space or something).

Comment Capitalism is a Ponzi Scheme, too... (Score 0) 346

While I have no problem with capitalism -- or being part of a Ponzi scheme if they want to be -- consider this: almost all companies have a guy (or set of guys) at the top who make the most money. They have people working for them in progressively lower responsibility and lower-paying positions until you get to the guy at the bottom who does the most work and makes the least amount of money. Ponzi schemes need more "investors" while businesses need more "market share." People are promised more wealth if they can find new people to be part of the scheme, while workers in a company are promises more money and chances for advancement if they do well (never mind the fact that there are only a limited number of slots above, which are often filled based on personal factors, not merit). Just something to consider...

Comment Factory (Score 1) 1127

I once had to write code while sitting next to a massive injection molding machine, where the temperature was probably 110 degrees inside (surprised the computers worked), a blow-off air jet going nonstop on the other side and the plant manager coming out about every three minutes wanting to know why things weren't done yet. Job lasted about two weeks of pure fun.

Comment Re:A Strategem (Score 1, Insightful) 201

You're right. I didn't want to be in school, however since we live in a "free"* country, government enforcers made me attend so tax-funded bureaucrats in my local school district would be able to keep their educational budgets intact even while making do such rudimentary things as coloring maps in a CP-level History Class or trying to learn German from the woman who'd been the Spanish teacher the year before. I found it was far more effective to pursue an education by exploring on my own, coupled with finding mentors who knew a great deal about certain subjects. Maybe that sounds elitist, but the same path is open to anyone with a little curiousity about the world. Crazy idea, I know, not wanting to use tax dollars taken from other people for my own benefit.

Comment A Strategem (Score 0, Troll) 201

NASA actually needs to start moving more into the public eye and pop culture again. The general public won't care about space exploration until there's a joint mission with Britney Spears and Dale Jr. onboard (I'll wait for the obligatory Challenger-type jokes). Otherwise, people will go "WTF are we spending money on space for?" I'm no fan of government spending for anything, as it involves confiscated taxes, but at least space exploration might lead to some real progress again.

Comment Re:Ominous (Score 1) 106

That's an excellent point...I'm in my late 30s, grew up around computers and electronics, too, so I think you're probably right. The problem is still that some people look at information exchange and propagation and see nothing but $$$, like those aholes who try to make money off of freeware or think of the worst cockamamie schemes to extract dollars from people. One thing that gives me a lot of hope is the growth of social computing, like Facebook, which I see as leading the general public to being fully interconnected, something which can't happen unless the DRM/IP issues start going away. They will see obstacles put in their path and then demand to know why those obstacles have been placed there and more people will start questioning why we have DRM/IP. A couple of years ago, I had a conversation with an acquaintance who's basically stereotypical hillbilly auto mechanic. He'd figured out how to hack his hardware to record "copy protected" DVDs. It's when the mindset that it's possible to do something like that and the will to do it spreads that we will see the end of our current broken system, not when "IP" holders dribble a little free content out now and then or we have a few philosophers make arcane aguments over the morality of bottling up information.

Comment Ominous (Score 5, Insightful) 106

It worries me when the free flow of political and economic information is going to start becoming the newest IP/DRM battleground because people who produce information simply cannot wrap their minds around the idea that information is now cheaply and easily reproducible and their old business models are defunct. All sorts of de facto censorship could very easily occur now under the guide of "protecting their business," especially given the tight mingling of media companies, the government, banks, etc.

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