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Comment Re:Really?!? (Score 1) 1448

It's not an ad hominem, that's strictly a fallacy arising in rhetoric. Boycotting the film would be refusing to put money into the pockets a person whose views are particularly repugnant to you. I can understand the gesture if the money would be used to support lobbying groups or political activism. It need not be an argument against their views so much as a refusal to directly support them.

Still haven't decided if I will see the movie.

Comment What to say when approached? (Score 2) 662

I know the best policy is simply not to volunteer any information to the police when approached. What is the best way to make it clear that you do not wish to speak with them, without raising suspicion? A lot of angry people on the internet seem to think the best option is simply to wave your pocket copy of the constitution in their face and yell "I know my rights!" If you're a law abiding citizen and have done nothing wrong, and want nothing to do with any wrongdoing of another person, what's the best (I'm assuming polite) response to an inquiry you do not want to indulge?

Comment Re:"Liberty-Minded"? (Score 2) 701

I agree with you that the state should protect liberties. But if that includes, as you say, providing social safety nets, then by necessity the liberties of those who are ultimately providing that net are not being protected, but violated. Your other two examples can make sense for a limited government in protecting property rights, i.e. people whose actions are causing harm to others in some way. When the law should kick in is a more difficult question, but in principle this is a sensible role for government.

Comment Hello Mr. google (Score 1) 200

Hello Mr. Google, I'd like to know more about discrimination in the military! Oh... according to Google the military is the most tolerant organization on earth! That's weird, can't seem to find any articles that I found last month saying otherwise. Must have pulled the articles when they found out how wrong they were.

Comment Re:Realistically.. (Score 1) 663

I read most of it, and there are statements which resemble the kind you have just made. Oil is definitely a finite resource, that is definitely not in dispute. Therefore if extraction rates continue to increase as they have, there will eventually be a critical point which is the fastest we will ever be able to extract it. The aftermath of this critical point however I don't believe will be economic disaster; as extraction tapers off the market readjusts through pricing. People slowly move off from the more expensive resource in favor of less expensive resources. From our perspective this looks like a potentially disruptive event because *everything* we use in the modern world requires oil, be it through petroleum based products or the more obvious electricity generation or motive power. The effect would be gradual. The last thing to go would be large factories that depend on oil for their proper running, but plenty of other things beforehand would easily be switched to other resources.

As an argument to support renewable energy I find it weak. If somebody can solve the problems that renewables still face then that's great, they deserve to make a lot of money from it. However pushing them at their stage today over a what I consider an exaggerated economic risk I think is premature.

Comment Realistically.. (Score 1) 663

The thing which confuses me about peak oil theories is they don't account for the way economics and pricing work. Supply of oil isn't an on/off switch, it won't just suddenly evaporate in a year and thus yielding a worthless modern infrastructure that requires oil. Over the course of many years the price would go up because supply isn't meeting demand, that price is the ultimate signal which then has people switching to alternatives. And that doesn't mean that the only thing which happens is people stop using oil, but people will stop using services that require oil as well in favor of cheaper alternatives. Running out of oil isn't going to be a catastrophic thing (if it really does happen in our lifetime).

The basic premise seems to be: "If we continue our current consumption patterns indefinitely.... bad things might happen." That's not what an economy does, it's not a perpetual motion machine that continuously does the same thing over and over again, we innovate. Remember the biggest competitor to Rockefeller wasn't even related to the oil industry, it was Thomas Edison because he could replace kerosene lamps.

Comment Re:web-based? (Score 1) 70

I have thought of this before, but don't have the time as a grad student to commit to coding it. IT's great that others are realizing the value of this possibility. I would be really interested if as in LyX I can type in LaTeX code and have it immediately appear as mathematics: just as in coding, typesetting is most efficiently used when one has immediate feedback of results. Also ways to minimize point-and-click after a certain degree of mastery, I prefer to keep my hands on the keyboard at all times. Interoperability with various citation formats is tremendously useful (endnote, zotero, BiBTeX, etc..)

Comment Re:Put the work into LibreOffice (Score 1) 70

If you were saying this in contest of another less meritorious WISYWIG editor, I'd agree with you. However it's not really proper to compare WISYWIG with WISYWYM (what you see is what you mean), and say one should be developed over the other. The goals of the two styles of editing are different, and in some contexts one is more productive than the other. It all depends on the problem you're trying to solve.

Comment Re:Interface to online compilers (Score 1) 70

This sounds like a really, really cool idea. The only thing I would be concerned about are when you have to use semi-obscure packages, or compatibility issues for when you're working offline (rare these days I know, but it does happen!). Listings package for example has some very notorious backward compatibility issues that are hard to debug, they'll just happen and something won't look right, no errors.

Comment Great news. (Score 4, Interesting) 70

Dude this is awesome. I use LyX all the time even though I'm perfectly fluent and capable with LaTeX. The immediate feedback you get from it means I can spend less time worrying about syntax and more time thinking about mathematics. I often don't even write on the board or on paper, I just go straight to LyX; I'm fast enough typing in it that it's the same.. plus my notes are instantly typeset beautifully. Also not having to do a makefile to handle the massively convoluted commands to compile LaTeX that uses lots of necessary packages (e.g. BiBTeX) is a huge productivity boost.

LyX does have some failings though. I learned with my thesis that it's not yet ready for a serious long-term multi-document project. Some of the LaTeX details are insufficiently exposed, and so when tweaking is necessary it's difficult to get under the hood and make something happen that needs to happen (like once I couldn't get linebreaks in figure captions.. Simple in LaTeX, but in LyX...) Sometimes when it IS possible to do LaTeX tweaking it won't behave nicely with LyX because LyX isn't technically a LaTeX frontend, it uses its own typesetting language and converts at compile if you want e.g. a pdf in the style of pdflatex. One example of this is putting in \noindent to remove spurious indenting after figures,equations. Put it next to text in LyX and it won't compile even though it's in its own LaTeX environment.

For small projects those things aren't really a big deal, you get by with a workaround.. but on a huge project like my thesis you have put in so much work and already have a huge base of work that the little things just need to work, because you can't just say "oh well just won't do that thing." Also the errors you get at compile are all LaTeX errors, which even if you're editing a LaTeX document aren't terribly informative, but editing LyX it can be next to impossible to tell where that error is coming from without exporting to LaTeX and looking, which costs time.

Still.. Fix these things, and LyX has the potential to be a massive productivity tool. Many of the proofs in my thesis I directly began in LyX without working out on paper beforehand, and then edited it for prettiness later. It's the perfect balance between proper typesetting and what mathematics gets presented to the user. WYSIWYM as the LyX folks say, but still usable as a notebook for on-the-fly work.

Some features I'd love to see is a solid symbolic math interface. It has one currently but it's limited. Scientific Workplace has an *excellent* symbolic interface, and when I used that (which I don't anymore because it's not portable across multiple OS) I had a huge productivity gain. Imagine typing in a frustratingly complicated integral that you need in a proof, and just highlighting it and typing "Ctrl+e" and it spits out the typeset solution before your eyes IN YOUR DOCUMENT. Sure you'll have to edit it down because likely it will exceed margins, or isn't exactly in the form that is most appropriate for the context.. but that's editing work that you'll have to do anywhere anyways. I'd also like to see a better supported nomenclature package, which is currently a tad buggy in LyX (random deleting of nomenclature entries, no way to browse nomenclature entries throughout document without resorting to ctrl+f, etc).

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