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Comment Hypocrisy, much? (Score 2) 169

The US, of course, has never tried to interfere with, or influence, a foreign election.

Anyway, I actually doubt that Russia in interfering at all, in 2016. The political elite in the US have produced the current situation all by itself: people are fed up with being presented with a non-choice (it was supposed to be Jeb vs. Hillary), so they did their damnedest to make it Bernie vs. Trump. Half succeeded, too, and Trump's chances are looking pretty good.

Pisses of the political elite no end, and since nothing could possibly be their fault, it must be the Ruskies. Or maybe aliens.

Comment Hydrogen is a stupid fuel to use (Score 2) 198

Ok, my chemistry is a long time in the past, but AFAIK hydrogen is a really stupid fuel to choose. It is the smallest atom possible; even H2, the usual form of hydrogen gas, is tiny. That makes it incredibly hard to contain. Also, none of our existing infrastructure can handle it.

If you are going to manufacture fuel, you are better off producing methane (natural gas, CH4). It does require a second reaction: After electrolizing water to produce H2, you then catalyze the H2 with CO2 to produce methane and water. So the overall process is more complex, but the result is not only much easier to store, we already have the infrastructure for transporting and storing methane.

This line from TFA is also a laugh: "operating costs will be similar to the operating costs of diesel units." Sure, except for the cost of building a completely new infrastructure to produce, transport and store hydrogen. Which doesn't count as "operating costs".

Comment Business hates uncertainty, plus a rant (Score 0) 165

It's just a totally unknowable situation. The uncertainty of what the final arrangement may look like - businesses don't like uncertainty. The British government needs to start the countdown as soon as they can, to get past this phase.

OTOH, the EU is going to be nasty. They must punish the UK, because otherwise the next 2-3 countries that might leave are already lined up.

Switzerland is in a similar boat. The voters here have said "enough" to immigration, even from EU countries, and required the government to put a hard limit in place. This was two years ago - the government has failed to do anything yet, because the EU basically refuses to negotiate. If we put border controls back in place, we lose all other agreements with the EU. They don't dare open the door to border control, otherwise all of the EU countries will also do it. Some, like Austria, pretty much already have done so.

The EU is playing a losing game, in the long term. The open-borders, pro-immigration politicians (like Merkel) refuse to admit that they were wrong. They refuse to acknowledge that national borders have a purpose. That unlimited immigration is the same as cultural suicide.

Their stubbornness means that the rebound will put extremist parties from the other side of the spectrum in control. In five years, we won't have just border controls (those are inevitable, at this point). By the time the reigns of power can be ripped from Progressive hands, the resentment and fear will have grown to such proportions that even peaceful, integrated immigrants will face persecution. Good intentions are, as usual, paving the road to Hell.

Comment Some good, some bad (Score 3, Interesting) 427

Lambda expressions: A total brainfart. Lambda notation has no place in an imperative language; mixing paradigms is confusing for the vast majority of Java programmers. Most people just use lambdas as "magic syntax" to simplify things like declaring event handlers. The ugly syntax is a problem, but lambdas are the wrong solution.

Date/time APIs: Yes, finally!

JavaFX: Oddly, the best feature of Java 8 isn't even mentioned in TFA. JavaFX is immensely better than Swing, in every possible way: it looks better, it works more reliably, and it's easier to program.

And the worst feature of Java 8 is the unnecessary complexity throughout the new features. Two examples:

- The Optional class. Instead of checking directly for a null result, you have to unpack every result out of this idiotic wrapper.

- Factory methods instead of constructors. Java is supposed to be an object-oriented language. In OO, you create an instance of a class with a constructor, which has the name of the class. But not in Java 8, no, instead you use a whole stable of factory methods with all sorts of weird names. Look at the new date/time classes for an example.

Comment Easy pledge to make... (Score 1) 294

This is an easy pledge to make, if you pay people based on their education and actual years of experience. Why? Because - if you look at it that way - there is no gender pay gap.

All the studies that show a substantial gender pay gap either (a) equate different professions, or (b) compare people based on their ages.

The first of those is obviously flawed, because different professions are, in fact, different. This includes studies that compare average pay in an entire region, because women and men do tend to congregate in different professions. Exactly why women go into lower paying professions is a complex issue, but really, it doesn't matter. All that's important is that women and men both have the choice to do what they like. If a woman wants to become a civil engineer, or a man wants to work in a kindergarden, those doors should be open. If they are, then there is no problem: people can choose a career that suits them.

It's the second type of study that's more insidious: comparing earnings based on age. More women than men take time off, or work part-time, to raise children. Hence, the average (to pick an age) 40 year old woman will have less experience than the average 40 year old man. Some opportunities may be entirely lost: for example, not being available for a high-intensity or high-travel position may make one ineligible for a later promotion. An alternate approach is to compare women with and without children. What a surprise: women without children earn much more than women with children (article is in German).

So it's easy for companies to pledge to pay women the same as men - because they already do.

Comment Only for short-term stuff (Score 1) 385

Self-burned optical disks are crap for data archival. It's pure lottery whether or not you can read them in a few years, even the "good" brands. For movies and music, it doesn't matter so much if you have a few glitches on the disc. For data backups, it matters a lot.

I only use optical media for short-term data transfer, like handing big files to our local print shop. For me, data archival means spinning rust.

Comment The embassy is the worst (Score 4, Informative) 348

Once you arrive at the US, you have to get past passport control and customs. That's what most people worry about, but it's less unpleasant than getting the visa. The problem is only that the personnel act overworked, surly and suspicious - very unwelcoming.

Far worse is the process of getting a visa, because this requires visiting the American embassy. The place is built like a prison, and that's pretty much the feeling you have when you are there: the personnel is behind thick glass windows with over-pressure against poison gas, talking to you through a crappy speaker. Even though you may "have an appointment" you often spend hours waiting. Sure, your appoint may begin on time, but then you wait again, then go to some other window, then wait some more, then go pay at the cashier, who may be on her lunch break...

And you aren't allowed to take anything in with you. Just your wallet and any paperwork you may have. No bags, not a phone, not a Kindle. I've learned that they let me take in a physical paperback, a pad of paper and a pencil - that's as far as you can stretch the rules.

The process of checking people to let them inside is slow, and the only place to wait is outside - if it's stormy, windy and raining, be sure to dress warmly. But not too warmly - you can't have a backpack or anything, because the embassy has no provision for your belongings. They don't want them on the premises, so you have to find someplace else to leave your stuff. The obvious spot is the train station, which is about a mile's walk away (there's no parking at the embassy, they're far too paranoid for that). This is really great for people who are visiting for the first time, because they naturally assume there will be lockers or some other provision for their belongings; they face a 40-minute walk to deposit their stuff elsewhere, missing their appointment. It is also great for families with babies or small children, since you can't bring in your kiddy bag to take care of them.

The whole setup is a truly unbelievable PITA - you have to see it to believe it.

Comment Re:Desperate lies? (Score 1) 412

Adjustments: I don't misunderstand the reasons for these at all. However, numerous sites and scientists have questioned the validity of these adjustments. I'm not a climate scientist, but I do find it striking how the adjustments always go in the same direction: making historical temperatures colder, hence increasing the apparent warming trend.

As for Europe this Spring, I won't cherry pick any links - just search: There are numerous articles about how the entire Spring was unusually cold in all of German-speaking Europe. The climate maps I linked to in my original comment can show data for specific months - and they show that all of Europe had above average temperatures during this time.

This is simply nonsense, and lends weight to the idea that the historical temperature adjustments are wrong.

Comment Desperate lies? (Score 1) 412

Various commenters have pointed out that they have had unremarkable, or even cool temperatures this year. The warmists reliably respond "weather isn't climate". But you know: enough individual weather data points are climate.

Before you make this comment "troll", consider just one little example:

This year, much of western continental Europe had an unusually cold Spring, from April through June. While individual cooler days are not unusual, this is the first year I have ever had to run the heating in June, because the entire month was cold. This wasn't confined to one town, or even one country - it affected most of Germany, northern France, Switzerland, Austria, etc.. The weather phenomenon was well-explained: the jet stream had an unusually strong north-to-south orientation, bringing cold polar air for most of the Spring.

Why is this important? Because - despite the obviously cold temperatures, over a large region, lasting several weeks, the global climate trends claims that we had an unusually warm Spring. Look, for example, at the GISS site, and ask it for a map for May or June 2016. Note how all of Europe is colored orange (i.e., unusually warm), for both months. This is simply a lie, and can only work because of the way historical temperatures have been artificially adjusted downwards.

Look, the earth is warming. Glaciers are retreating. The lakes and canals that our grandparents skated on? They no longer freeze over. There's no doubt of any of that. Why is it necessary to falsify data, in an attempt to make things look catastrophic? This only serves to destroy the credibility of climate science.

Comment Proprietary platform (Score 1) 68

People who developed content for a proprietary platform are subject to the whims of the platform owner. In this case, the whims of Adobe primarily involve failing to patch security holes and allowing widespread use of their platform for user-hostile purposes. They could have invested in security, and policed Flash usage. They chose not to, and now Adobe (and their users) are paying the price.

Sadly, Flash is not going away. As I understand TFA, the new version of Chrome will still work just fine with Flash content. It will just ask the user before playing it. If someone wants to see your Flash application, they still can. However, unwanted Flash (primarily in ads) will finally be dead.

Do note: Even if Flash finally dies, Flash applications will remain perfectly usable: Put a copy of Flash on a VM, get copies of anything you care about off the web, and you can run it forever.

Comment More general issue: pre-crime (Score 1) 122

This is all part of a much more general issue: restriction and even legal prosecution of "pre-crime activities".

- You get DRM-encumbered products, because manufacturers are afraid you might copy the product. Copying is an action that has many uses; piracy is only one of many possibilities.

- The DMCA prohibits circumvention of protective measures, because...why? The circumvention isn't the problem, nor are most of the reasons you might circumvent something. It's all about the relatively rare edge cases that might be illegal. Consider hacking into your car's computer, for example: there are lots of reasons to do this, from curiousity to performing minor repairs yourself.

This mentality goes a lot farther than media and computers:

- Consider sexting: Why, exactly, is it illegal to send sexy pictures of a 17 year old?. Doing so may be naive, and there are potential crimes, but the vast majority of cases are boyfriend/girlfriend exchanges. Again: it's the crimes that should be prohibited, not the behavior that might lead to them.

Once you start looking:

- Why should it be illegal to fly drones near a wildfire? Interfering with firefighting efforts is the problem, but if there are no aircraft involved, where's the problem?

- Why should it be illegal to modify your router, as long as you don't cause interference with other devices?

- Why should it be illegal to do drugs, as long as you only affect yourself?

- Why should it be illegal to host a poker tournament in your home?

- Why should it be illegal to drive without wearing your seatbelt?

- Why should there be a minimum drinking age?

Not too long ago, I came home from work, grabbed a beer, and took a lazy evening's walk through the woods near my house. In the US, that would be illegal, because...why, exactly?

And on, and on...law after law that isn't about restricting actual harmful behavior, but rather restricting innocent activities that have the merest potential for harm.

Comment Re:Non-sequitor (Score 1) 150

Ultimately the only secure 2FA is a dedicated hardware token that requires biometric authentication to function

Only, biometrics can be faked. A couple of years ago, my favorite computer magazine (German) showed how they could lift and reproduce a fingerprint good enough to fool many fingerprint scanners. For that matter, biometrics are stored as digital data, which can be stolen. And once your biometric data has been stolen, you are well-and-truly screwed, because you can't exactly change your fingerprints, retina, or whatever.

Security is a problem, and there is no perfect solution...

Comment ...without logging in... (Score 1) 375

You'll be able to ask it to make a note, play music, set a reminder, and lots more without ever logging in

I do not understand this trend. Under Android, there is also a lot of functionality available without logging in (for example, turning on a hotspot). Worse, there is no way to block access to this functionality.

If I wanted my phone unsecured, I could leave off the passcode. If I have a passcode, it means that I don't want some random dude able to do anything. At the very least, such access should be customizable.

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