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Comment Re:And the best vantage point.. (Score 1) 225

No, it makes me sad that this got +5 insightful.

By all means, see the TV footage /after/ the event, to make sure you learn something. But I don't want to miss actually looking up at the sky.

There is a huge difference to the feeling of actually experiencing something real, versus looking at it at TV.

Comment Re:Compass and sextant (Score 1) 340

Although a chronometer is very useful combined with a sextant, there are many ways of navigating with sextant (or similar instruments) and compass without knowing the time.

Without knowing the time, you can still find your latitude which is arguably the most important thing to know when crossing oceans in east-west direction.

In fact, navigating across the big oceans was routine hundreds of years before the chronometer was invented.

Comment Re:My cat's breath smells of cat food (Score 1) 400

Net-access when out of reach of wlan. We are not all in our office all the time.

That is important for games too, but for me the important things are web and email access anywhere, calendar (without need of explicit syncing to my PC), GPS with google maps and the various clever apps that can be downloaded (ssh, banking app, train-ticket app, aurora alert app, ...)

I can not understand how a modern geek can't see the usefulness of a smart phone. My guess is you have never tried it seriously.

Comment Re:Lighting. (Score 2) 264

The problem is not the added hight of the snow, but that the snow is very uneven (sastrugi). You can not land a plane with wheels on an unprepared antarctic runway, and airplanes taking off from Cape Town (which is the city closest to the Norwegian station) will not be equipped with skis.

Comment Re:Lighting. (Score 5, Informative) 264

I spent one year as the leader of the Norwegian Antarctic research station (Troll).

We did not have winter flights either, but we had plans for doing it.

We had a set of airport lights we could place along the runway, complete with PAPI lights to guide incoming planes. These were not permanently mounted, but would only require a couple of hours to get in place. I find it odd that Amundsen-Scott does not have something similar.

The real problem is weather, a little bit of wind, and the lights disappear in snow drift. Another problem is that the runway must be cleared of snow, which is a considerable amount of work that is also dependent on the weather.

Comment Re:vim? really? (Score 1) 592

The first thing we do in vim is turn off syntax highlighting and silently curse whoever keeps turning it back on.

Why? I have seen this before, but never understood why anybody would prefer their C-code (or whatever) without syntax highlighting. Can you explain what is wrong with syntax highlighting?

Comment Re:It depends (Score 1) 785

I would suspect it tastes very different from both pork and chicken, more like minke whales and seals. I have eaten minke whales and some seal species (its legal where I live), and they taste different from land mammals. It is very dark meat and has coarse fibres. It is like dark land mammal meat with the same hint of marine life you also get from sea bird meat. Its good when you are used to it (like most meat is).

Comment Happy Hacking (Score 2) 391

This is obviously something geeks care about, there are more comments in here than in the china blocking nobel price story.

My keyboard philosophy is "more is less". I want to reach all keys from touch position and need a keyboard that provides that: Happy Hacking Keyboard. Not only is it much faster because I dont need to move my hands much. It also takes up much less space on my desk. Combined with emacs, this is the most powerful user input method I know of.

I never use caps-lock, but if I have to I have a two-key combo that enables it. A special key on the home row for caps lock is just stupid.

Comment Re:Programming lesson (Score 2) 194

And I also trust that these studies have properly isolated for sex, ensuring that additional factors such as training and practice in related skills or a lifetime of "you can do anything" vs. "oh, you're just a girl" have no bearing on the final results?

But that is not really necessary if you simply want to know something about the current population. If the cause of the observed difference (if any) is environment or inheritance is really a different thing.

Comment Re:Still work? (Score 1) 164

It is not that old. I have computer equipment from the 70s that still work. I have an FM tuner from the 70s that is working perfectly, I use it every day. It is not at all strange if 30+ year old electronics powers up just fine.

Even if the caps have dried, they are easily replaced. So are all the other components. IIRC the apple I did not have any custom components apart from the PCB, it was made from off-the-shelf components.

Comment Re:That's disgusting (Score 1) 207

I am a hunter, got my license 7 years ago. Before I decided to take the necessary hunting course (requirement in Norway to be allowed to hunt), I wanted to research the ethics behind hunting. I read some of the arguments of the animal rights camp (like the famous book of Peter Singer), in addition to pro-hunting literature.

I never could agree with Singer or any of the vegetarian arguments. First: Singers argument (IIRC) is that any kind of animal killing is as bad as killing a human individual because there is not one property of human individuals that distinguishes them from animals, except membership of our species. One example: intelligence, it is immoral to kill a human infant even if its intelligence is lower than a cow. Specisism is bad according to Singer (although he gives no good argument for why), so his guidance to what he can kill and eat is if it has the ability to feel pain or not (again a seemingly random choice to build an ethical system on).

My objection to that philosophy is that nature is amoral. Human ethics does not apply to the rest of the nature, nature does not care. Ethics has evolved with humans for our own survival (my belief, I have no citation for you). As such, doing what is best for us in a way compatible with the evolved human mind is just as good an ethical guideline as Singers. Note that environmentalism and animal welfare is still ethical in my view, it is clearly not good for us to ruin our own habitat. It is also, clearly, good for our own psyche to treat animals with respect. I just have no problem with putting humans and our wishes above animals.

The other argument I have a problem with is that meat is inefficient as a food source: If you avoid meat because you want to make sure there is more food in total in the world, you are just delaying the catastrophe. If you believe we are going to grow to be so many that meat production will result in starving masses, then going vegetarian is only going to result in a few years extra of growth. At that point, the catastrophe will just be worse due to the larger number of people. The problem is population growth, not lack of resources which is a symptom.

Comment Re:It's true! (Score 1) 150

Policemen and firemen do not have a risky workday, at least not in Norway (see [1]). There are much more deaths and other accidents among farmers than policemen.

Another thing: A society also need people who do extreme things in remote places. When they get back, they can tell about their adventures to the rest of us and show us of how far humans can go in extreme situations. They push limits. That can be a positive thing, even if the situations they seek have no direct utillity value for the society.


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