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Comment Re:Huh? I use these all the time. (Score 1) 213

This gets down to something that used to be a common UI design principle before software became so feature-ful it became impractical: manifest interface.

The idea of a manifest interface (which also is a principle in language and API design) is that if the software has a capability you should be able to see it. You shouldn't have to root around to stumble upon it. Tabs follow this principle; there's enough visual and behavioral cues to suggest that you need to click on a tab. The little "x" in the tab also follows this principle.

But context menus you access by right-clicking break this rule, which means that there may be millions of people laboriously clicking on "x" after "x", unaware that they can make all the extraneous tabs in their browser disappear with just two clicks.

This, by the way, is why Macintoshes were designed with one button on the mouse. But even Mac UI designers couldn't get by with just single and double-click, so you have option-click too, bit by in large you could operate most programs without it.

Anyhow, to make sure people know about this kind of feature, your program is going to have to watch their behavior and suggest they try right clicking. But that way lies Clippy...

Comment Re:Making NASA Great Again (Score 5, Informative) 278

Actually the Wikipedia article on the National Aeronautics and Space Act has an interesting list of the legislation's priorities, starting with priority #1:

The expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space;

Historically speaking the act, which was signed into law in July of 1958, was a reaction to the "Sputnik Crisis" created by the Soviet launch of an artificial satellite eight months earlier in October of 1957 -- an act which filled Americans with awe and a little dread, knowing that a Soviet device was passing overhead every 96 minutes.

So arguably NASA was founded to achieve preeminence in Earth orbit, not necessarily manned space exploration, which isn't mentioned at all in the legislation. Yuri Gagarin's Vostok 1 flight was still three years in the future, and JFKs Rice Moon Speech followed a year and a half after that. That speech is well worth watching, by the way, if all you've ever seen is the "We choose to go to the moon" line.

Manned exploration of the outer solar system wasn't really what the founding of NASA was all about; in fact manned spaceflight has only a single mention in the unamended 1958 text:

... the term "aeronautical and space vehicles" means aircraft, missiles, satellites, and other space vehicles, manned and unmanned, together with related equipment, devices, components, and parts.

The main focus of NASA at its founding was to provide a single agency to coordinate space and spaced-based research, which at the time would have been largely (although not exclusively) Earth-focused.

Comment not anonymous (Score 1) 267

It appears that Bitcoin, a currency designed with anonymity in mind...

No. Bitcoin is designed around decentralization, not anonymity. Every transaction is logged forever; for anonymity, that's a nightmare. This misconception is widespread. Bitcoin is not anonymous; if privacy is important to you, you should not be using it.

Comment Re:Something stinks (Score 1) 379

Well, at present Putin's facing a financial crisis that is going to force him to drop military spending from 69 billion to 48 billion dollars. Germany is raising its defense spending to 40 billion, and if you factor in it doesn't need to defend vast terrain or have a multi-ocean blue water navy, Germany alone should be more than a match for the conventional forces of Russia.

Things may have looked different ten years ago when Russia was riding on high energy prices -- one of the reasons that the Obama administration was so pro-fracking: to contain Russian power. But today Europe really doesn't need the US to defend itself. Sure it'd have to shift some of its defense spending away from things that support US military operations to things that replace them.

In fact support of US power has been a major reason for continuing NATO since the collapse of the Warsaw Pact. The multinational force in the Iraq War wouldn't have been possible without NATO, although it wasn't a NATO operation per se. Afghanistan was a NATO operation; in fact it is the sole time in the history of the organization that the Article V mutual defense provision has been trigger -- by the US in response to 9/11.

Comment Re:TLDR: UN says more whites = happiness? (Score 2) 379

Well, you can prove anything if you get to make up the categories, but seriously, lumping Europe with Asia? 60% of the world's population lives in Asia, and 15% of the world's population lives in Europe. So it's hardly amazing that if one of your categories comprises 75% of the people on the Earth that there there doesn't appear to be a lot of diversity. Your friends could include a Pakistani, Tibetan, Uygher, Eskimo, Finn, Scot, Basque and Serb and they wouldn't be a "diverse" group.

Comment Re:Meh... (Score 1) 379

Translation, he's an actual conservative, as in Edmund Burke, who supported the monarchy, but wrote about monarchists as self-evident idiots. He was well aware that monarchs don't have any moral claim to rule; he just thought that Britain had managed against all odds to make it work. He'd feel about the free market exactly as he felt about the crown.

Burke was the kind of ferociously skeptical conservative who loves liberty but despises theories of liberty, even when those theories support his own position. In other words he had integrity, which is rare in thinkers of any stripe.

Comment Re:That's their job (Score 2) 447

When the UK is giving £50-60m a year to a nuclear power that holds the record for the most satellites launched into space on a single rocket I don't give a shit what the ROI is, I want that money spent in the UK.

It's money we spend to stop problems from developing into larger problems which would actually cost us more money.

How about the Indian government spend their own money instead.

Comment Re:Easy to defeat... (Score 1) 62

Incorporate software in the drones to keep them at 0.7miles and above, while still doing what they need to do.

To put this in perspective, that's just over 1km high, which is over twice the height of the Empire State Building, and comfortably above the 830m height of the world's current tallest building, the Burj Kalifa.

Even if you've got a drone that has that sort of range- which is going to be at the upper limit or beyond most consumer drones at present anyway- you're not going to get close enough to view anything of note in worthwhile detail in the vast majority of situations.

Comment Re:Relax... (Score 1) 186

Nah, by now the foreign countries realize [etc]

"By now"? Everything- and I do mean absolutely everything- you said above should have been obvious to any individual paying the remotest bit of attention long *before* he was elected.

The only "surprise" is that he didn't fulfil the (much) more-in-hope-than-expectation belief some people had that this might not be the case when he became president. That- contrary to the evidence- someone who had made it through his entire life to the age of 70 while still acting like a spoilt 8-year-old bully, who was clearly unsuited to the position (and who probably hadn't expected to get as far as he did when he first announced he was running) might suddenly grow out of all that. Yeah, right.

I don't know whether he's too "dim" in the conventional sense to know whether he's being played, or- more likely- it's down to his pathological narcissism. It was obvious long before the election that his behaviour towards anyone was a directly tied to how much flattery was applied. He'd roll over and let anyone who transparently flattered him tickle his belly (e.g. the Putin lovefest), while anyone remotely critical (e.g. fellow Americans) was attacked with the lowest and cheapest insults. It's also obvious that someone so susceptible to manipulation in a position of power is a threat to world security.

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