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Comment Re:Best Plan Ever? (Score 3, Informative) 235

I disagree with your assertion. China, with its definite nationalism and its growing corporatism, really is starting to look a lot more National Socialist than socialist. There are some facets of historical fascism that China does not match, but not even all of the reputedly fascist regimes had all of those facets. For instance, strong racism was more of a specialization of Nazi Germany. Fascist states likely Italy and Vichy France, pretty much followed the German lead on racism. Spanish fascism was much less racial and more of a religious/corporatist alliance.

The great hallmarks of fascism are totalitarianism, nationalism and coordination of the economy by cooperating with big business instead of taking it over. There is also a concept of strength being its own goal. China does not really have a long history of corporations like the West does, but once it does have this sort of basis, it could well turn into something very close to the structure of the fascist countries of the 20th Century. Certainly, China is very much looking to increase its strength in as many ways as possible, and is certainly not against doing so at the expense of other nations.

Needless to say, with a country as big as China and the fact that it is rapidly becoming a gigantic market that the old fascist countries could never dream of being, China's system may well merit its own label, but I think fascist is certainly a more accurate term than communist, or even socialist. After all, as someone pointed, there are socialist states and parties that are democratic and not overly nationalist.

Comment Re:Felt (Score 2, Informative) 388

"But in hand-to-hand combat, plate's weakness was a concussion weapon."

That's one of those "Yes, but..." things. It has to be taken in context. Yes, plate armor was vulnerable to "denting" weapons. If your armor was crushed around you, you could be disabled even if you were not particularly injured.

But that has to be compared to the protection that mail armor offered against crushing weapons... which was virtually none. Your armor would not be crushed around you, you would just be crushed instead. So plate armor was still far superior in that sense.

Comment Re:Rednecks? (Score 1) 614

The problem is in the poorer neighborhoods they DON'T KNOW jack shit. All they teach is "don't do it" which frankly is about as effective as "say no to drugs". Notice how drugs are a billion dollar business? Notice how nearly every damned commercial is "take a pill and all is good"? Notice how every other commercial is hot babes selling sex? See a connection?

I'm ALL FOR teaching them not to do it, but there damned sure better be enough education there that they can make an informed choice if they decide to do it anyway. "Just say no" didn't work for drugs, which has a hell of a lot more visible side effects than getting laid. And if they are so uneducated they think hanging a girl upside down or giving her a crotch full of Coke will stop pregnancy? Well then you got some trouble there pal.

Teach them about STDs, and unwanted pregnancies, all the horror stories you want if you think it will get them to stop. But we have been doing the "just say no" bullshit for 20+ years now and without real education to go with it...well it is about as worthless as those "this is your brains on drugs" commercials. You know what my stoner buds would say when they saw that commercial? "That's not your brains, that's breakfast...now I'm hungry. Let's go get some food!" yeah, that was helpful.

Comment Re:This isn't going to help (Score 3, Insightful) 200

Is it? Even wise people are ignorant out of their area of expertise.

You have entirely missed my point. Wisdom is not about categories of factual knowledge. It's about knowing and understanding yourself. Our society so thoroughly fails to appreciate wisdom and so greatly overvalues cleverness and so few people are independent learners that I am actually having to explain this.

It's a mundane, lower-level interpretation of what I said, and it fails to capture the full essence of it, but it could be rephrased this way: wise people know when they are not informed enough to make a good decision. So if it isn't their "area of expertise" (even if they DO subscribe to such a self-imposed limitation) then they know they are ignorant and they know that they need to correct their ignorance before making a decision. That's because wise people know themselves and appreciate both their strengths and their weaknesses, both their capabilities and their limitations.

Fools, by contrast, assume that they know more than they actually do. This is usually because of what you might call arrogance but also happens because of plain old poor judgment (which is itself a weakness that can be remedied). Because they recklessly and haphazardly overestimate their understanding, they get screwed by such scams.

Note that fools can otherwise be very clever, in that "high IQ" sense. They can accumulate vast amounts of memorized factual and procedural knowledge. They can even be the foremost experts in a specialized field. This alone does not cause them to make good decisions. To see the surprise that people show when smart people do stupid things, you'd think that this were some big mystery rather than the simple and self-evident observation that it actually is. Unfortunately, this is another thing that I would not have to explain if the difference between wisdom and cleverness were more widely appreciated in our society. The result is that we as a people are very good at complicating simple matters.

So before responding, the wise might research that person e-mailing them and take steps to find out whether he is in fact the Nigerian prince that he claims to be. They might do a Google search and see if other people have also received similar unsolicited e-mails, which would quickly inform them about the nature of the scam. What they would not do is respond from a position of ignorance to an unknown third party about a financial matter without first performing some due diligence. Furthermore, the truly wise are honest people and for that reason, they do not expect to earn vast amounts of money for little or no work on their part and are rightfully suspicious of such offers instead of titillated by them.

Now I know that's a rather dry response, but the beautiful simplicity (by comparison) of my original statement gets lost in even the best of explanations.

Comment Re:This isn't going to help (Score 1) 200

It doesn't even take greed. One US vendor got an order for $10,000 of equipment, accepted the $20,000 check that was "erroneously" sent and agreed to refund the difference. By the time the $20,000 check bounced, the scammer was already long gone, the equipment was gone off the loading dock and the check for the difference was long cashed.

Comment Re:ohhhhh... (Score 1) 444

Exactly. Burning oil is one of the most expensive ways to make electricity.

Also, I don't know if anyone else was irked by this, but nuclear batteries do not have "power densities a million times as high as standard batteries". They have *energy* densities a million times as high as standard batteries. It's shameful that someone posting articles on Slashdot doesn't know the difference.

Comment Re:It's 1996 again? (Score 1) 300


>>>the only difference is that instead of sending sound (analog) down the wire they send electrical pulses, 1s and 0s: digital data.

56k digital modems also use 1s and 0s (duh). Pure analog modems max-out at about 34k. And the maximum exists because when you limit yourself to a 4000 hertz wide spectrum, you are confined by the physical limits or the universe. On telephone wires, that limit is 7 bits * 4000 Hz * 2 == 56000. On broadcast Digital AM radio, it's about 20,000 bits/second.

Basic math. Basic physics. Freshman level. If you have an engineering degree you should hand it back.

>>>adsl can do 24Mbits/s on a single pair of plain old telephone wire.

Incorrect. ADSL disconnects the old telephone wire (4000 hertz limit) and reconnects it to high-quality fiber or coax (unlimited). It is NO longer part of the old 1800s-era telephone system. It's an entirely new technology.

>>>This is why this whole thread about inadequate bandwidth is totally nonsense. New technology and totally different ways of using what we already have will continue to produce ever more information density in the same radio spectrum.

Except you cannot change the laws of physics. A 20 megahertz channel (i.e. the entire with of FM radio) can only carry 330 Mbit/s per Nyquist's Theorem. That is the physical limit imposed by the universe and you will never exceed it.

Comment AJAX? (Score 1) 283

An HTML text input has various Javascript events that you can use to trigger an AJAX call to the server, which you can then use to check if the record is locked. If you use the Prototype.js library to register events and make AJAX calls, it will handle the browser incompatibilities for you.

If you need to push events to the client about when a record gets locked, then things become harder and you'll need to be creative. You can either poll, or use a combination of polling and blocking on the server. (When you block on the server, the server blocks an incoming HTTP request until an event occurs.)

Comment Re:This book: (Score 1) 283

Sorry if I failed to make myself clear, the post was written pretty early in the morning. =P

If the user leaves the browser tab open, the JavaScript running in the background keeps the document locked. While this prevents any loss of data it also prevents other users from editing the file should the user decide to leave work early and not close the tab (which, on second thought, is probably what you meant).

This, of course, could (and should) be mitigated by having an inactivity timeout for the user's login session. Just make sure the users know that if they leave their computers for 20 (or whatever works for your application) minutes they will be logged out. Add a bit of JavaScript (jQuery, oh sweet cross-browser compatibility) to the updatelock() function that adds "?active=1" to the AJAX query if the document has been changed, and code in updatelock.php that updates the user's activity timestamp if !empty($_GET['active']).

The result is document locking that allows only one user editing any given document, inactivity timeout (sensitive to typing in the document) and making the document available soon after the user is done, even should (s)he simply close the tab/window. And, since only one user is allowed to edit the document at any given time, one could even implement autosave.

For the sake of not losing information, I'd definitely not be adverse to creating a temporary copy of a document when a user opens it for editing, auto-saving to this temp document and leaving any older versions of the document read-only when the user clicks "Save". Still, I'd stick with my one-user lock scheme to avoid two users editing a document and having only the version saved last appear as the most current version.

Comment Re:Stupid GPL (Score 1) 266

I believe the term is "entrepreneur" which (if taken literally) is French for burglar (one who enters and takes).

Might I suggest you stop "believing" stuff and just look it up instead? There's references online going as far back as the 13th century where the word is used for someone who organises thing, often in the context of public works. The same word occurs in a lot of different languages, although oddly the "entre" (lit. "between") has been exchanged for "under". So in english we have the undertaker(different meaning), but the verb "to undertake" is quite close to the spot. In dutch we have the "ondernemer", in german the "Unternehmer". All of them refer to a person who takes responsibility for a job that needs to be done, often related to construction work. The economic meaning of someone who is in charge of a company developed later.

wiki link

Comment Re:Sounds perfect to me... (Score 1) 181

... some teenagers ... wrote in their diaries some fantasy story about blowing up their school

That's thinking small. I have fantasies of blowing up the entire Ministry of Education with a TTC subway car laden with explosives, on November Fifth, wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, playing the 1812 overture.

This is an entirely original idea, by the way.

Comment Re:Most food we eat is genetically modified (Score 1) 427

I live in a rural area that grows a significant amount of sugar beets

What this article and the judge are missing is that sugar beets are not like corn. They don't go to seed until the 2nd year.

A farmer has to plan to raise sugar beets for seed. Growing seed is an expensive proposition. Most of them don't do it on speculation, they do it only if they have a contract to produce the seed in advance. They are working with a seed company to produce the specific variety that the seed company wants to purchase. It is planted one year, winters over and then will flower and produce seed the next year. This is true of many root type crops.

It would seem fairly straight forward for the seed company to do their seed contracts by geographic region. This region will produce GM seed, this region will produce un-GM seed.

Growing GM plants in an adjoining field to non-GM plants has no risk of pollen contamination for the normal sugar production process.

The problem isn't the pollen, the problem is the processing. From what I have seen in my hometown, is there isn't a really good segregation process that would keep GM beets seperate from un-GM beets once they got the the dump site. The dump is where all the local farmers bring their beets from the field and the Sugar Factory reps weigh the trucks, analyze the sugar content and purchase the beets. It is a 20 acre dirt area. Once the harvest is over, the dump personnel load the beets into rail cars or over-the road trucks for transportation to the sugar factory. If John the Farmer is raising GM crops, and Frank the Farmer is raising non-GM beets, once they get to the beet dump, it is extremely likely the loads are getting mixed into the same pile.

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When speculation has done its worst, two plus two still equals four. -- S. Johnson