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Comment file magic - use the content to determine type (Score 1) 564

i've never understood why the unix file 'magic' approach wasn't used universally - it determines the type of a file based on the contents, usually the first few characters or lines.

As ever, wikipedia has an article on the file type detector command.

It's quick and easy, and usually more robust than relying on an appended file extension or even a declared MIME type.

Comment Re:How can a civilization perish without AGW? (Score 4, Interesting) 55

I think the evidence suggests a longer-range climate cycle, rather than a man-made event, at least based on some of the material summarised in wikipedia on the Sahara:

Sahara pump theory with long periods of increased rainfall

Neolithic subpluvial with a wet phase from about 10000 years ago to about 5000 years ago

and then a very specific paper from 1987, for those who like their research in detailed PDFs, describing the evidence (bones, different alluvial deposits etc) for the wet period

Comment "mostly an economic problem" (Score 1) 835

Re your final point, about "famine is mostly an economical problem these days, bringing in the likes of monsanto to 'solve' this will not bring relief to the starving and ill nourished people of the world".

It's worth remembering that whatever problems we have now will be exacerbated by:

  • a growing world population (up from about 6 billion at the start of the century to around 9 billion by 2050?)
  • a shift in desired diet as developing countries become wealthier (people tend to eat more meat as they become richer, meat uses more grain and multiplies the demand on food supplies)
  • restricted resources (land suitable for growing food is fairly fixed, available water is constrained) mean we need to do more within the limits of what we have
  • other random impacts from freak weather events, biofuel production, and 'futures' speculators

so we should be exploring a range of solutions, understand the benefits and disadvantages of each possible solution, and expect to use a complicated range of them. GM may well form part of that portfolio. Expecting a single "magic" solution such as the whole world reverting to subsistence farming or turning vegetarian seems quite unrealistic to me.

But maybe (given the tone of the debate so far), I've got unrealistic expectations of this forum...

Comment Re:Don't kill predators (Score 2, Insightful) 227

Pigs have often been allowed to forage for mast, then penned up and fed corn and maybe some sweet feed for some weeks before slaughter. Remember that a hog is an omnivore, so free ranging hogs eat some really NASTY stuff!
Even today, farmers who slaughter their own hogs for private consumption will replace the commercially prepared feeds with corn.
Would it work for rabbits? Probably.

Comment Re:While I don't have any use for the program (Score 3, Informative) 171

But if the warrant specifies drugs (which could reasonably be hidden in a sock drawer), and when searching the sock drawer find a pistol, they can seize the pistol, even though it's not on the warrant.

No they can't. They can only seize it if it is illegal, by itself, for the owner to possess. Now, if they find drugs as well they can probably do so under the right circumstances.

Owning a firearm, in and of itself, is not illegal for most people. This, of course, excludes certain persons such as felons, the mentally unstable and most legal, yes legal, aliens.

Comment Re:Strikers Vow (Score 1) 1698

It is not the governments purpose to "save" or "fix" the economy, nor does it have the ability to do so. It never had that ability, and it never will

Of course it is, unless you live in some non-existent libertarian utopia. Governments continually bail out and stimulate economies, and their voters expect them to.

That's how modern society works, whether you like it or not.

Comment UTCs (was Re:HP Thin Clients) (Score 1) 131

thin clients are OK but ultra-thin clients are likely better - see for example:

You get low-cost screens, the ability to add a user-tagged card that carries session info with them, and a few other advantages.

Not sure about the touch-screen aspect, as I've never looked into that.

have fun!

Comment Re:This is user requirements, not implementation (Score 1) 283

just a small build on this point - it's about what the end-user community needs, not wants.

Sometimes you'll have to work with them to explain why an alternative is better overall, when they are sure that their option is what they want (=need, as far as they are concerned! and they've designed the app for you! with diagrams...)

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