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Comment Free software assistant... already exists (Score 3, Informative) 90

Free software assistant... already exists

They've got an RPi image you can download, slap on a card, and be up and running with a USB mic and something to handle the audio out.

Seems to me like the FSF should pay more attention to what is already going on.

Comment Re:He won because Hilary didn't campaign (Score 1) 1476

If your theory was correct, then those voters would have prevented Democratic losses in 2002. There would also be far, far, far, far more split tickets where a state goes for president from one party and congresspeople from the other.

Instead, Democrats got clobbered in 2002 and the few split ticket situations have razor-thin margins instead of overwhelming numbers.

Comment Re:He won because Hilary didn't campaign (Score 1) 1476

Nope. Democrats do not vote like Republicans.

Republicans turned out for the midterms during Obama's tenure because they wanted to stop Obama. Because on average, Republican voters are motivated by stopping things. After all, stopping change is at the core of being "conservative". You are trying to conserve "the old ways".

Democrats did not turn out similarly during W's tenure. Because on average, Democrats are looking for certain changes to the status quo and the DNC offered "Republican lite" in 2002 (and 2004). In 2006 the DNC started talking a bit maybe possibly changing things, and got higher turnout. Obama's "Hope and Change" in 2008 got big turnout.

The DNC theme for the 2018 midterms will be "Trump bad!!!! Vote us! We stop Trump!!!" (And yes, the grammar there is intentional). Turnout among Democratic voters will be bad. That theme is an appeal to people who are motivated like Republican voters. You'll get the "Always vote for Team D!!" voters, but one only has to look at our last election to see how well that works.

It is only after the 2018 losses that the DNC may finally do enough introspection to repair the party. For now, too many are busy screaming "Russia did it! Popular vote!" to change anything.

Comment Re:already exceeding expectations (Score 1) 1476

People blame her for supporting the Iraq War, which is fair - but she wasn't one of the ones pushing it,

She made an impassioned speech on the floor of the Senate pushing it.

You also ignored that while Secretary of State, she pushed for "military intervention" in Libya and Syria, backed the coups in Honduras and Egypt, and pushed to escalate against Russia in Syria and Ukraine.

After she stepped down as Secretary of State, she blasted the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by Kerry.

As far as I know, Clinton has not opposed a "military intervention" since she entered public life.

More importantly though, she is first and foremost a -rational- actor in terms of international policy.

Iraq turned into a shitshow. Clinton backed the war in Libya. Libya turned into a shitshow. Clinton backed the war in Syria. Syria turned into a shitshow. That is not the behavior of a rational actor unless they are seeking to create more violence.

Comment Re:already exceeding expectations (Score 1) 1476

Thank California for that. Because apart from the landslide in California, she lost handily in the rest of the 49 states.

Clinton won 20 states + DC, including California.

If you want to claim a popular vote victory if California was excluded, you need to wait until a "CalExit" vote wins first.

Comment Re:Catastrophic man-made global warming (Score 2) 276

Perhaps, perhaps not. Venus is still very poorly understood. In its high temperature environment its conditions are largely self-sustaining (preventing the sequestration of CO2 in rock), although it's also unstable, prone to broad temperature and pressure swings. It also appears to have undergone a global resurfacing event about 300-500mya, if that gives a clue as to how unstable the planet as a whole is. ;) We don't know what caused it, or really anything about it. Part of the planet's properties are now a result of it having lost its water rather than being a cause, such as its hard crust. Obviously its lack of a magnetic field is responsible for its loss of water, but we don't know exactly when or why it disappeared (there are of course theories... I had always just assumed it was the slow rotation rate, but the last research I read suggested that not enough to account for it). Other issues as to how Venus ended up as it did may be related to size - although it's only a bit smaller than Earth, that may be the initial factor that set its fate in motion - for example, its lithosphere in general appears to be thicker and higher viscosity on Earth, which could have hindered or prevented plate tectonics, and thus subduction of carbonates.

Either way, it's a mess now at the surface (though rather comfy ~55km up ;) ). And I'm not so sure I buy into some of the proposed ways to fix it (terraforming). For example, some have suggest mass drivers ejecting the atmosphere. Let's just say you can pull it off, and then you start building oxygen in the atmosphere - what happens next? The crust is something like 7-9% FEO; it's going to rust away whatever oxygen you make in short order.

Interestingly, I'd argue that this is possibly the salvation to Sagan's airborne-microbe concept for terraforming Venus. The main criticism is that if you engineered some sort of carbon-sequestering microbe on Venus (or artificial equivalent), you'd end up with a deep surface layer of graphite surrounded by some hugely hot, dense oxygen layer, and the atmosphere would explode. But that would never happen; at Venus surface temperatures and pressures, the surface rocks would rust away the oxygen as fast as it was created, even in tiny quantities, with the wind blowing the dust around to collect at low/eddy areas. So you're laying down bands of carbon and iron oxide as you burn through the planet's iron buffer. Where have we seen this before? Right, Earth, ~2,3 billion years ago, banded iron formations. Just like on Earth, you'd eventually burn through the iron and start to accumulate oxygen. But by then the graphite is already underground, buried in iron dust.

It's not a fast process. But it has precedent. Microbes already rusted at least one planet, and that planet's surface conditions weren't nearly as favorable for rusting as Venus's.

Comment Re:Catastrophic man-made global warming (Score 1, Troll) 276

I don't know how China managed to melt so much arctic ice, leading to the absurd situation that just a couple days before the winter solstice this year I went on a hike through the snowless mountains in Iceland among chirping songbirds digging for worms. All I have to say to China about this is: Best. Conspiracy. Ever. Well played, China. Well played.

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The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."