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Comment Systemd, WTF? (Score 4, Interesting) 167

Systemd, WTF???

As I understand it, one of the stated goals was to speed up boot times. It's had exactly the opposite effect on my Ubuntu system -- that is, when the boot doesn't die altogether when I try to mount NFS shares. (Also, thanks to systemd, I can't even *reboot* or shut down the machine when there's a hung NFS process. I am forced to hard-reset it.)

For years, warning flags have been raised about systemd. It more or less seems that we're bringing all the disadvantages of the Windows architecture to Linux, without any of the advantages of running WIndows.

So, again: systemd, wtf???


Canada Plans To Phase Out Coal-Powered Electricity By 2030 (theguardian.com) 147

Last week, French president Francois Hollande announced that France will shut down all its coal-fired power plants by 2023. This week, Canada's environment minister, Kathleen McKenna, announced that Canada plans to phase out its use of coal-fired electricity by 2030. The Guardian reports: [McKenna] said the goal is to make sure 90% of Canada's electricity comes from sustainable sources by that time -- up from 80% today. The announcement is one of a series of measures Justin Trudeau's Liberal government is rolling out as part of a broader climate change plan. Trudeau also has plans to implement a carbon tax. "Taking traditional coal power out of our energy mix and replacing it with cleaner technologies will significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, improve the health of Canadians, and benefit generations for years to come," McKenna said. Four of Canada's 10 provinces still use coal-based electricity. Alberta had been working toward phasing out coal-fired electricity by 2030.

Comment It's not CGI, it's familiarity (Score 3, Insightful) 304

Remember when Jurassic Park came out, how impressed we all were with the dinosaurs?

Remember when T2 came out, how impressive the liquid metal man was?

The problem isn't that CGI is "bad". It's just a technique, that can be used well or poorly like anything else. It's mature enough now that you can use it a whole lot. But there's nothing intrinsic about it that makes it less impressive or less verisimilitudinous or less worthwhile to watch than other filmic techniques.

The real problem is that "lots of things moving at once look at the spectacle!" is no longer novel. We have scads of movies every year come out that show us that. So, when Jurassic Park had cool dinosaurs, it was *the* movie that had that. When Return of the Jedi had fighters flying all over the place in a massive space battle that upped the ante from the previous two Star Wars movies, it was fresh and cool and new.

Nowadays, that's just same old, same old. You can no longer impress by having lots of specatcle out there, because audiences have been there and seen that. it doesn't matter how you accomplish it -- CGI or otherwise. CGI only gets blamed because that's how people usually accomplish it nowadays. Maybe you can blame CGI because that's what made it cheap engouh to be overused so much. But it's not CGI itself.

Done well, it still entertains. Somebody else has already mentioned Mad Max. As another example, the speedster running through the exploding house scene from [i]X-Men: Apocalypse[/i] was a lot of fun, because there was more to it than just spectacle. The same movie at the end had lots of crap flying all over the places in a special effects spectacular, and it was kind of boring, because it was just gratuitous spectacle for the sake of spectacle, and that's old hat.

Comment Re:Social Media Outrage? (Score 1) 371

..and he got terminated from all of his positions.

If it stopped at him being mocked, that would be fine. Still an overreaction, because his comments were taken out of context and completely not understood (perhaps *willfully* misunderstood, as was the case with may who piled on Justine Sacco). But, whatever.

But he also got fired. And that's why this is a serious problem.

Comment Re:Pittance (Score 1) 69

Indeed, in these kinds of class action lawsuits, there is only one big winner, and that is the lawyers who are litigating it.

I'm all for class action lawsuits in principle; companies that do things that are bad for soceity should face some sort of consequences for their actions, and people who were inconvenienced or harmed by the actions of companies should have some sort of recompence. In practice, however, usually what happens is that the people nominally benefitting get just a few dollars (probably not worth the paperwork of making it happen), the charge to the company is perhaps not trivial, but an easily absorbed cost of doing business, and it's a bonanza for the lawyers involved. The rewards system encourages litigous behavior for the sake of litigation, not good behavior on the part of companies nor does it provide any real recompense for people harmed.

Comment Re:This happened to me (Score 5, Insightful) 819

And how, exactly, is she supposed to put her knees in any other position? The seats are not very wide. Unless she has an empty seat next to her (and, frankly, that's about the only way I can stand to fly any more), if she tries to bend her legs so that her knees aren't right in front of her, parts of them are going to be spilling over into and annoying the person next to her, or sticking out into the aisle and getting run over by the carts that the flight attendants drive trhough trying to get people to buy stupid duty free stuff.

The problem is not inconsiderate assholes. The problem is that 6'2" people are stuck in plane seats that they simply don't fit in. The problem is that airlines have designed coach seats to work for the bottom 30% of the population in terms of size, and are trying to squeeze the entire population into it. Something somewhere's gotta give. The person in back can blame the person in front for reclining their seat (as we've seen in this thread), or the person in front can blame the person in back for having knees (as we've seen in this thread), but *somebody* is going to be unhappy, because the situation is set up so that somebody has to be.

The problem is coach seating. It's just become too small.

Comment don't they understand the Internet? (Score 1) 70

The front-page warning says "However, we want to be clear that this edition is only free to read online, and this posting does not transfer any right to download all or any portion of The Feynman Lectures on Physics for any purpose. "

I wonder how they expect people to read it in their browsers without the text of the document being transferred down to the computer on which the browser is running...?

Comment overheat (Score 3, Insightful) 91

I remember getting one of those when I was 10 or 11. First generation. All excited to finally have a computer. But I couldn't leave it on for more than an hour or two before it would just crash because it had overheated. Too frustrating to use. We sent it back before the necessary 10 days had passed.

I was sad.

Later (within the year? I don't remember) I got a Vic-20; a couple of years later, a Commodore 64. Then, in college, a Commodore 128. Those guys worked much better for me than the Sinclair ZX ever did.

Comment Re:Mandatory gun ownership (Score 2) 694

You don't have health insurance, eh? Do you also have legal documents signed that the system does not need to help you and pay for the care you'll need if an unexpected condition or accident arises? Or are you assuming that if something like that happens that no non-ultra-rich person could handle, the system will back you up?

If you don' t have all the "let me suffer" documents signed, by not having health insurance you're a worse freeloader than any smoker.

Comment Re:Worst Summary Ever? (Score 5, Interesting) 489

It that you will *think* you're a horrible person. If you can't get a job in an academic tenure-track position, you'll think that you're worthless, a failure, that you haven't lived up to your own expectations of yourself and everybody else's expectations of you.

You won't *be* horrible, but you'll *think* you're horrible.

I've been there. Right now, I'm one of the EXCEPTIONALLY LUCKY in that I'm a 40-something who's in a Unviersity job. (We don't have tenure where I am, but it's a small teaching-oriented liberal arts college of exactly the sort I always wanted to teach at.) But, I've been in the position of trying to find a job and not being able to, and of being on the tenure track with certainty that I was going to get turned down because I couldn't get money out of highly overtaxed funding agencies. And I felt like a complete, worthless failure, somebody who's life didn't add up to a damn thing, somebody who couldn't do anything. THAT is how a PhD (mine is in Physics) turns you into a horrible person.

Comment Re:But what is it? (Score 1) 173

Dark Matter is not like the luminiferous aether. That was the title of a podcast I made three years ago -- here it is: http://cosmoquest.org/blog/365daysofastronomy/2010/06/26/june-26th-dark-matter-not-like-the-luminiferous-ether/

The luminiferous aether was a theory developed to explain a discrepancy... as was dark matter. The difference is, there are LOTS of different lines of evidence to point towards dark matter. With the luminiferous aether, the theory was tested, and it didn't stand up. With Dark Matter, the theory has been tested, and it DID stand up.

The Military

United States Begins Flying Stealth Bombers Over South Korea 567

skade88 writes "The New York Times is reporting that the United States has started flying B-2 stealth bomber runs over South Korea as a show of force to North Korea. The bombers flew 6,500 miles to bomb a South Korean island with mock explosives. Earlier this month the U.S. Military ran mock B-52 bombing runs over the same South Korean island. The U.S. military says it shows that it can execute precision bombing runs at will with little notice needed. The U.S. also reaffirmed their commitment to protecting its allies in the region. The North Koreans have been making threats to turn South Korea into a sea of fire. North Korea has also made threats claiming they will nuke the United States' mainland."

Comment Micropayments taken to the extreme (Score 2) 81

Holy cow... like most people, I already don't like micropayments in most circumstances-- it leads to stress because you're watching what you do at all times knowing that every little thing leads to more money being charged, rather than the comfort of knowing that you've got what you got. This, however, is the concept metastasized.

This is the kind of headline I'd expect to read on April 1.

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