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Comment Re:Who watches the watchers (Score 1) 243

You have not provided any positive definition of the word "republic," only asserted it as a simple antonym of monarchy. As I understand the "republic, not democracy" meme, those who buy into it (and I am rather sympathetic myself) are bemoaning the fact that the central government is controlled by a specific, entrenched political class who determine the choices set in front of the electorate. This situation is just as dangerous as an unfettered monarch, albeit in different ways. Simple assertions that the system is supposed to be a democracy do not address the division of labor which creates specalists in manipulating the levers of centralized power.


The Copyright Nightmare of 'I Have a Dream' 366

CoveredTrax writes "If you weren't alive to witness Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech on the Washington Mall 48 years ago this week, you might try to switch on the old YouTube and dial it up. But you won't find it there or anywhere else; rights to its usage remain with King and his family. Typically, a speech broadcast to a large audience on radio and television (and considered instrumental in historic political changes and ranked as the most important speech in 20th century American history) would seem to be a prime candidate for the public domain. But the copyright dilemma began in December 1963, when King sued Mister Maestro, Inc., and Twentieth Century Fox Records Company to stop the unauthorized sale of records of the 17-minute oration."

Comment Re:Died in a '69 Beetle (Score 2) 187

UNDERsteer, in a rear-engine car? I think you have a bit of confusion in terms there. Oversteer is what occurs when the rear of a vehicle loses traction due to weight imbalance. Additionally, Ralph Nader's criticism of the similarly rear-engined Corvair (and its contemporary Volkswagens) in "Unsafe at Any Speed" had a lot to do with that vehicle's use of a swing-axle transaxle, in which the rear axle's suspension only has one, vertical, degree of freedom and thus has a tendency to bounce upwards during oversteer incidents and risk overturning the whole car. 1969 and later Beetles had independent rear suspension, which does not exhibit this behavior. The Corvair was killed before it could be evolved in this direction.

Additionally, Porsche fanatics will tell you that the 911's rear engine placement is actually an advantage in terms of traction during corner exit, so long as you are not foolish enough to lift the throttle in mid-turn.

Comment Re:As I said above, "open" is a state, (Score 1) 321

Looks like some mods got confused and thought Troll meant Disagree.

Agreed with the spirit of your open source vs open platform issue. Though, I'm not sure support for user modification is necessarily part of the definition of open platform. I think Google fulfilled the requirements by allowing anyone to create a new Android device without licensing (provided you don't consider the Android Market part of the platform). Guess we'll need some other term.

An open source operating system doesn't do much good (for a power user/developer type) if the bootloader and root file system are locked. There are some devices that leave the bootloader open, but they're exceptions to the rule. And needing to exploit an unpatched security vulnerability to get root is unacceptable.

Comment Re:Bad. (Score 1) 932

What reasons would there be other than public money and environment issues? What would governmental leaders gain?

It seems like you're only suggesting a flexing of power ("Look at this--I made everyone pack into a train! Isn't it awesome?!" ...doesn't sound like a very motivating ending). The pursuit of order for its own sake seems rather lame too. I prefer my conspiracies involve reasons that appeal more to greed or ambition, heh. /shrug

Comment Re:Goodnite x86 (Score 1) 70

I feel like x86 compatibility itself doesn't matter anymore either. The majority of users seem to depend on only a very small number of applications. You pretty much get all the average folk with a web browser, Flash, Microsoft Office, and maybe iTunes. Adobe, Microsoft, and Apple have demonstrated a willingness to work with whatever platforms are popular.

There are certainly large niches that matter too, like video games, but would companies/developers for those applications hold things up? I don't know.


Hotmail Launches Accounts You Can Throw Away 286

suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from CNET: "Today, Hotmail is getting a new feature aimed at 'e-mail enthusiasts,' which lets anyone create multiple e-mail accounts that can be read, replied to, and managed from their everyday e-mail inbox. These additional e-mail addresses can be had in the same manner as signing up for new accounts, but they require no extra log-ins or upkeep. ... The idea is to give users a safe way to provide third parties with an e-mail address, without giving up the address they've provided to family and friends, which, if compromised, can end the usefulness of that particular account. Each user will be able to create up to five aliases, any of which can be deleted and replaced with another at any time. Over time, Microsoft will increase that limit to 15 aliases per account, making it so that the true heavy users won't need to juggle between two or more Hotmail accounts."

Comment Re:2 kilowatts? (Score 1) 438

But electric motors have nothing to do with charging the batteries... While electric motors are very efficient compared to the ICE, a more realistic number would be 85-90%. I've seen peak efficiency as high as 98% in some hub motor data sheets, but that's only at particular speeds.

As far as charging efficiency goes, I imagine there are losses from the voltage converter and the internal resistance of the battery cells. How much effect they have, I can't say...

Comment Re:2 kilowatts? (Score 1) 438

If you're assuming 100% efficiency and constant power (probably quite wrong on both counts), just have a look at the capacity of battery packs and divide by the charging time. We can look at 3 battery packs: the Prius (1.3 kWh), the Chevy Volt (16 kWh), and the Tesla Roadster (53 kWh). For an 8 hour charge time, that's approximately 160 W (Prius), 2.0 kW (Volt), and 6.6 kW (Roadster).

Comment Re:Ok, but (Score 1) 1138

These days, the kids barely show up to class unless there are attendance points.

It would help if going to class weren't a waste of time. Too many professors simply read their slides and ask only very basic questions. The net effect is students that are either distracting themselves or struggling to stay awake and pay attention. The textbook is a much better format for this type of material.

Then again, I have a feeling this lecture style is made to accommodate the lazy student. Reading the text--before an exam or homework forces it--seems rare...

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