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Comment Embedding videos in PDFs, then? (Score 1) 172

One of the really useful features in PDF is the ability via Adobe Reader to embed flash videos in PDFs. It's a very convenient way to deliver videos to a client (or in our case, grant review committee) in a nicely packaged way that is guaranteed to be playable (everyone can get Reader). Moreover, everyone that accepts documents for various applications in my circles, accepts them in PDF.

If we can't use flash (and I recognize that, eventually, another solution will become necessary), what's the alternative for embedding videos in a universally readable document?

Comment Re:This is the problem. (Score 4, Informative) 231

Your model of energy usage is lacking the majority daytime use: commercial and industrial. These uses match insolation (and therefore available solar-based power) pretty well, it turns out.

Here's a very, very simple part of it: cooling office buildings. Mostly, that needs to happen when the sun is shining, because that's when (a) the building is being warmed by the sun, and (b) the building is occupied by people who want it cooler.

Comment Re:idiots again (Score 1) 113

So making an attempt to pay off a debt somehow "erases" the irresponsibility of running up the debt in the first place?

You're saying that, not me.

I'm not arguing whether it is right or just or ethical to go into debt


Nope, I didn't. I argued about whether it is right or just or ethical TO PAY OFF ONE'S DEBTS.

And, should anyone else get all huffity, plenty of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, including our current sitting president, have racked up massive campaign debts. I make no judgement on whether going into debt to finance a campaign is good or not -- I accept it as the current standard behavior. Paying off one's debts (which seems to be a long-term problem for Democrats, Republicants, and Independents, also including our current sitting president), is a morally good thing.

Comment Re:Republican Financial Acumen (Score 1) 113

Why is this comment marked funny? Paying of 1/4 of a million-plus dollar debt in about nine months is (a) nothing to sneeze at, and (b) fiscally responsible. The campaign is repaying its loans. How is that not good? How is that not the right thing to do?

I'm not arguing whether it is right or just or ethical to go into debt to campaign for public office (from my naive understanding, nearly all major campaigns operate under a deficit spending model), but there's no way you can argue that making efforts to pay off your debts, and making decent progress at it, is dishonorable.

Furthermore, we have not idea what the terms of the loans are. He could have 20 years to pay it off, or 2, for all we know.

Comment Re:Wherefore? (Score 1) 331

The -- and really, the ONLY -- thing going for VB6 is the ease of integrating rudimentary visual controls to create a GUI with minimal effort. You can get a pretty sophisticated GUI (I'm embarrassed to say that I have maxed out the number of available widgets -- text boxes, labels, drop-down selection lists, etc -- on more than one application) in nearly no time. The code that gets generated is incredibly slow, but if you're super-duper careful, you can squeeze reasonable performance out of the compiler. It never gets above reasonable, though.

I've tried writing a GUI in C, and it was an awful experience. Same for MATLAB. If you allows me to call web pages a GUI, then same for PHP / Perl, and it was only slightly less painful.

I wrote a very simple GUI in Visual Studio 2010 C, and it was ... OK. Wouldn't want to make a really complex one, though.

So, in the end, there is a reason to use VB6, sort-of. Kinda. Maybe. If it ran on Win7, there'd be a stronger case for using it.

Comment Re:"Huge" isn't what I'd say (Score 1) 879

And yet, constitutionally, we do not vote for our president as a single people. That is a broadly-held but mistaken belief. It's also a broadly-held but mistaken belief that we live in a thorough democracy: we do not. Only at the local and state level (and I can't really vouch for more than about one state), is it a democracy. You want democracy with all its warts? Move to Greece: they have actual, true democracy and take it seriously with 70-80% turnout. (Although technically mandtory, the requirement is only enforced by socially held beliefs which the Greeks take very seriously, unlike the comparatively apathetic American voters.)

It's also a broadly-held but mistaken belief that each vote counts equally in US national elections. A single vote in New York counts much less than a single vote in Wyoming (to use extreme examples). This is an important part of the functioning of our nation of states. As long as we have a nation of states, rather than a direct democracy without the structure of individual state governments, the power of the states must be supported against Federal encroachment through mechanisms like the Electoral College.

That it is possible to elect a national leader with what some might consider an appallingly small fraction of the popular vote serves to reinforce states rights. You want your vote to count more? Move to a low-population state. Or to a solidly red or blue state, and vote against the majority. That the Electoral College can override the popular vote has been known for a very long time, and has in fact, already happened. Twice. Those that think it is only a recent problem have not studied their American history.

Comment Re:"Huge" isn't what I'd say (Score 3, Insightful) 879

I say this with respect: Anyone who says the Electroral College is an insult to democracy has never thought about how you design an electoral system.

Suppose you have a freshly-minted country that is known for in-fighting and rabble-rousing. You want to unify them, and make it clear that no matter how slim the margin of election, one candidate has been resoundingly selected above all others. Why? If someone is elected from a field of two candiates with only a very slim margin, the members of the losing party are that much more likely to split off. The country is young, you need to ensure unity and cohesiveness. So, a mechanism that amplifies small differences into large ones will help provide the illusion of landslide victories to the public, even when there are none.

The Electoral College was a brilliant bit of work by the designers of our political system, and helped ensure the stability of a highly fragile young country. It was also a practical necessity since communication was so slow, but the real impact was in ensuring unity.

Do we need it still? Yes. For the very same reasons. We say that a 10% margin is a landslide in a national election. 55-45 is a landslide? That sounds to me like a split populace that lacks a single voice. If you had 9 people voting on an issue (say, as you do in the US Supreme Court), it would be equivalent to 5-4 (do the algebra, it's the same), and that is called a split decision. Split, not landslide. The only reason that the media reports 55-45 as a landslide is because the Electoral College amplifies that difference into a nearly unanimous decision. We definitely still need the Electoral College, and for exactly the same reasons. After a contentious election -- and which national elections are not contentious? -- the population needs immediate unification behind a single leader.

Comment Re:Kevin Smith (Score 3, Interesting) 196

At one point in that awesome commentary, Kevin Smith talks about Prince's habitual making of songs and full-on videos that are not released but "put in the vault," as Smith describes what Prince's assistant told him. While Smith makes light of that odd behavior, it makes sense as a long-term strategy to make hay while the sun shines as the colloquial saying goes, assuming Prince was saving these gems for later release as his talent and abilities faded, as an insurance policy to pay for his extravagant lifestyle in his later years.

So, will we now see those compositions released? Did Prince leave instructions in his will?

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"Why can't we ever attempt to solve a problem in this country without having a 'War' on it?" -- Rich Thomson, talk.politics.misc