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Comment Conspiracy theory (Score 1) 194

For years, politicians were (publicly) in a state of denial about fossil fuel supplies while they proclaimed that fusion would soon solve all of life's problems.

Fusion using tokamaks as currently envisioned isn't sustainable even in theory, but they would be huge, centralized power sources that governments could easily control (thus, the only sort that gets any funding, whether viable or not. ) Fission power has too many problems, and would take a few decades to make a difference at best. No other source of utility scale power is more than a stopgap measure.

Somewhere in the last few years a lot of important people realized that business as usual will result in a collapsed civilization, soon. They had to do something, quickly but quietly. Admitting that we really are running out of petroleum or that practical fusion power is not going to happen in the foreseeable future would have bad social consequences.

The rush to renewables amounts to a last ditch hope of buying time, without admitting just how bad our situation actually is. They can only hope that owning one's own power source will be less popular if cheap commercial power is available again. Cheap that is, until the solar arrays and windmills rust away.

Comment Director is dead (Score 1) 34

They had such a lock on their niche that they seemed unassailable, back in the day.

Lingo was the technology that convinced me that programmers are born, not made. It was arcane and had a lot of reserved words to learn, but it was pretty simple to understand. Completely beyond the comprehension of most of its target audience, though.

The lesson was hammered home a few years later by iShell, which simplified authoring to triviality: their inescapable graphical environment was enormously annoying for programmers, but their forums promptly filled up with baffled content creators who couldn't handle if statements, even 'graphical' ones.

Aside from a few games, and their tech support Nazis, that's how I'll remember Director.

Comment Unintentionally hilarious (Score 0) 173

TFA says:

The proposal also says that robots should always be identifiable as mechanical creations. That will help prevent humans from developing emotional attachments. "You always have to tell people that robot is not a human and a robot will never be a human," said Delvaux.

but then:

The proposal explores whether sophisticated autonomous robots should be given the status of "electronic persons."

Which is it, guys? And I thought US politicians were clueless.

Comment How about ... (Score 1) 366

a /. spinoff for these ludicrous stories about "experts" and their opinions? Maybe could help host it?

I don't have time to scroll past this kind of thing at work, but I might enjoy it later after a few sixpacks.

(As if a robot with fully human intelligence and emotional capability would be available for marriage! They'd all be used as slaves by the companies that could afford them, or expendable cannon fodder by the government.)

Comment Re:Good for Consumer Reports! (Score 1) 212

Integrity... right.

CR has always had a reputation for "testing" things it doesn't know enough about and writing unintentionally hilarious reviews. (All I can think of, not having read CR in years, is bicycles and lawnmowers - sorry.)

They also do things like awarding Tesla the highest score ever, then dropping it to Not Recommended the next year because of "maintenance issues" that don't seem to reflect anyone else's experience.

Take CR with a grain of salt, particularly unless you know enough about the item being tested to validate their comments.

Comment Believe it when you see it (Score 2) 307

I worked for a startup once. Already gone public, nice building in the valley, etc. We had a conference call with the CEO, who said they'd just inked a big deal with a certain large PC maker and we were on track to be a $100M company in a year or two. Fast forward 2 months, and... We're broke! Almost everyone was laid off: I got 3 weeks severance.

Anyone who thinks Apple is different needs to read up on QuickDraw3D, OpenDoc, older Macs with DSPs, and x86 daughter cards to run Windows. For that matter, top secret Intel Macs, while they were still calling x86 junk. They won't breathe a word about what's going on while the old stuff still sells at a profit.

Comment I'd use it (Score 2) 133

My all-time favorite IDE was CodeWarrior on classic Mac (the Windows version was the best on that platform at the time.) I tried Visual Studio 6 and wasn't impressed.

Then I had to use VS every day and got used to it. Most of its problems were/are horrific UI design (hidden/obfuscated settings!) and twitchiness (hangs; recreating projects from scratch when they refuse to build.) Overall usability is now quite good, and automation (intellisense, etc) is first rate.

I haven't tried XCode recently, last time it was still a mix of all the things I didn't like about the early VS's. It's free and I could get used to it if I had to work on Mac's: Apple got all the money they will ever get from me between 1986 and 2008 or so. (I still have one MacBook left, mostly running Windows, from the days when I still thought OS X would eventually suck less.)

I'd be delighted to have a modern VS on Macs for odd projects that need a text editor and project manager. I've experimented with Code for fiction writing, not bad (lots of customization.)

Comment Lies during an election ! Tell me it's not so ! (Score 1) 284

I'm sure Facebook contributed to the spread of phony news, but it's not like everyone else (i.e., ABC, NBC, etc) wasn't doing it too. Facebook wasn't as blatantly biased as the regular media, either (whether I agree with him or not, the anti-Trump media blitz shamed everyone involved, and they well deserved what they got.)

Comment This does not reflect well on the FBI (Score 1) 822

They had to say something before the convention, so they said no problem. Now the convention is over and the issue hasn't gone away, so they "reopen" the investigation.

In fairness, the FBI can't investigate a parking ticket before the election, but they can do it before Obama leaves office. Assuming they decide she's guilty, the FBI recovers some of its image and Obama can pardon her 2 years before the next national election. He can spin that well enough: "For the sake of our nation, it's time to forgive this minor mistake, put this behind us and unite...." If the Republicans still don't have a viable candidate in 2020, it won't matter if anyone remembers.

Or, the FBI could say no problem again, depending on how afraid they are of a vengeful President Clinton. Better to be an international laughingstock with the US behind you....

Quick conspiracy theory: HRC really is sick, and she's hiding it because she wants to be the first female president. Dying in office is always better than dying out of office, and what do the people or the country matter to her? As a bonus she can propose anything she wants, and not be there when her "legacy" is voted down and her VP embarrassed.

Comment Does it have to be a "tube"? (Score 1) 275

How about a metal enclosure with a bolted flange? It would be massively easier to fabricate and readily repairable or modifiable. No pretty glow, maybe thick plexiglass would work?

If this is a one-off project with nonstandard "tubes", why not put all of them in the same vacuum container? That could look pretty awesome if it was see through.

You could use a big, replaceable getter covered with cheap, relatively safe and easy-to-get sodium instead of dealing with expensive, dangerous cesium into a tiny glass tube (or leave the vacuum pump hooked up, for that matter.) Wiring would be trivial compared to sealing pins into glass, and a six tube box could hold six versions for testing and refining before choosing the best working one, as opposed to building 6 individual tubes to try.

Comment Morlocks and Eloi ... (Score 2) 414

int the Time Machine were much the same thing: a technical, behind the scenes class that probably started off taking care of a useless "nobility", gradually evolving to exploit them as a food source. Our Morlocks would be a select few who directly serve and service the machines, the nobility are all the suit-and-tie wearers who get most of the benefits already. Think how many tech executives don't even know what their company's product is.

Our "extras" probably won't be cared for very nicely, even at first, considering how the upper classes treat them now when they're actually needed.

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