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Comment Will the National Film Registry finally get it? (Score 1) 304

Both the original Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back were officially added to the National Film Registry when it was created in the late 1980s. However, Lucasfilm never delivered an original, unmodified copy of either movie. George Lucas tried to give the NFR a copy of the "improved" edition, but they refused it; their mandate is to preserve original versions of historic movies.

The article notes that ironically enough, George Lucas argued against colorizing old black-and-white movies, yet he has refused to follow his own arguments with respect to his own movies.

I hope that Disney will deliver a suitable cleaned-up archival copy of the original, completely unmodified movie to the NFR.

P.S. I personally would be happy to have a version that has some hidden wire removal and other very minor cleanups. Probably the perfect way to do it is to release a new slightly-polished cleaned-up original, with bonus disc content of the original, cleaned up but utterly unchanged. Watching the movie over and over on a 4K screen, you will spot wires and other glitches to some extent... but there should be a version where they are perfectly preserved. It's a movie that was made in the 1970's. It was an advance in the state of the art of special effects, but it wasn't perfect and couldn't have been perfect. Sometimes it's instructive or fun to watch things and study how they were made.

Comment Re:I thought they originals were destroyed... (Score 2) 304

When George Lucas announced the "improved" versions of the classic Star Wars movies, he famously claimed that it would be impossible to recreate the original release versions. He said something like he had accidentally "taped over" the originals (for you younglings, that's a video tape analogy).

As this article commented bitingly, it would have been embarrassing for Lucas if the original version had outsold the "improved" version on home video release. So it was sure convenient for him that it was totally impossible to re-create the original version.

The article quotes someone named Bill Hunt saying this: "Even if it's true that Lucas and his staff destroyed all of the original negatives, it's unlikely in the extreme that they also destroyed all of the interpositives, all of the separation masters, and all of the release prints. In fact, we know that they didn't." And lo and behold, once George Lucas sold the rights, it turned out to be possible to recreate the original version, and now there's a 4K cleaned-up version.

Comment Re:50 million island people to be displaced by 201 (Score 1) 333

I was rather more hoping for a summary than a direct link to the 2007 report.

If I were a global warming scientist, I would already have read through those hundreds of pages. As a non-scientist, with things I need to do, I somewhat rely on news stories, like this one:

One of the central issues is believed to be why the IPCC failed to account for the âoepauseâ in global warming, which they admit that they did not predict in their computer models. Since 1997, world average temperatures have not shown any statistically significant increase.
The summary also shows that scientist have now discovered that between 950 and 1250 AD, before the Industrial Revolution, parts of the world were as warm for decades at a time as they are now.

Despite a 2012 draft stating that the world is at itâ(TM)s warmest for 1,300 years, the latest document states: âoe'Surface temperature reconstructions show multi-decadal intervals during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (950-1250) that were in some regions as warm as in the late 20th Century.â

And then I read through the PDFs at this site:

The tone is rather tendentious (especially the second PDF) but I find the arguments compelling. As I understand it, the CAGW theory is that feedbacks will cause the warming to "run away" precipitously once we reach a cruical tipping point, but the PDFs have graphs showing the Earth once had a significantly higher CO2 concentration than currently without turning into another Venus. The annual news stories about "the previous year was the warmest on record" don't seem to mention error bars, and when I tracked some down I was astonished to see that the margin for the "warmest" claim was a small fraction of the uncertainty interval. And in my original post, now modded down to 0 score, I provided the link to an article with graphs comparing the predicted temperature increases with what actually were recorded.

I have seen proposals for a carbon tax that was intended to take trillions of dollars out of the economy. (The authors of the proposal viewed this as a feature: trillions of tax dollars of additional revenue for the US government! I personally don't think you can get something for nothing, so I worry about the harm that would occur if that level of tax was levied.) I think that this level of tax should require a high level of confidence, and I personally am not at that level yet.

Thank you for responding politely. You haven't convinced me and I likely haven't convinced you, but I hope you at least believe that I'm genuinely skeptical and not just trolling or trying to flame people about this.

Comment Re:50 million island people to be displaced by 201 (Score 1) 333

So if someone could please post links to the most persuasive proof that we should all be worried about carbon dioxide levels, I'll take a look.

So far nobody has posted any links to CAGW proof, but my post has been moderated "Flamebait" and "Overrated". Folks, if you are trying to convince me of the science behind CAGW, that's not the optimal strategy.

Comment 50 million island people to be displaced by 2010 (Score 0, Flamebait) 333

In 2005, there was a prediction that 50 million people would be displaced by global warming by 2010. Didn't even come close to coming true.

This article has a rather strident tone but has solid links to document the above story.

These claims were put forward by Norman Myers. After the prediction didn't pan out for 2010, he made updated claims: now it will be 200 million displaced, by 2050.

I'm not a climate scientist, but as far as I can tell, the worries about catastrophic anthropogenic global warming have led to very few testable predictions, and the few that have been tested have not proven out. The predicted sea level rise and flooding by 2010 didn't happen, and the computer models that try to predict warming due to carbon dioxide are very far off their predictions.

People argue over whether there was a "global warming pause" or not, but I think it's pretty clear that even if global warming didn't pause, the total carbon dioxide concentration went up a lot during that time yet the predicted temperature rises didn't occur.

There is a saying: extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I'm not convinced that the claims of global warming problems even rise to the level of ordinary evidence, let alone extraordinary.

So if someone could please post links to the most persuasive proof that we should all be worried about carbon dioxide levels, I'll take a look. But at the moment, I think we have plenty of other worries that are higher priority.

P.S. The article suggests that Boko Haram is being driven by climate change. Boko Haram itself says that it is driven by a desire to create an Islamic state and to impose Sharia law. I view this attempt to form a linkage between climate change and Boko Haram as unsubstantiated hand-waving. As I understand it, the claimed link is that global warming leads to displaced and impoverished people who are more likely to join Boko Haram, but I'd like to see some evidence. Are there any factors other than climate change that might lead to people being displaced and impoverished? How do you control for such factors in any predictions?

Comment Re: More of a 2012 hope than a 2008 hope, though. (Score 1) 275

Almost all of [radiative waste from coal] is thorium, which does not bioaccumulate, and is nearly harmless in the quantities and concentrations produced in coal ash.

If, and I say if, all the thorium is filtered from the coal smoke before it goes out the smokestack, then I'll agree that the radiation is a bit of a red herring here. I still think it's a useful lesson to people who are nervous about nuclear power to tell them that coal smoke is radioactive, to hopefully get it through their minds that radioactivity is part of nature.

If thorium ash is not filtered out, and allowed to go out into the atmosphere to be breathed into peoples' lungs, then I'm pretty nervous about that. That's an experiment I don't want to conduct upon my own lungs, thank you very much.

Let's avoid the problem completely by switching to natural gas, nuclear, solar, etc.

There are plenty of very good reasons to oppose coal power, but "radiation" isn't one of them.

We'll just lump the radiation in with other unacceptable pollution caused by burning coal.

Comment Does Fedora have aptitude or similar? (Score 1) 154

Does Fedora have an ncurses app for exploring packages, such as aptitude? Last time I looked at it, as far as I could tell you had pure command-line tools (rpg and yum) and full GUI tools but nothing like aptitude.

I particularly like the way vi keys work as expected inside aptitude. For me it is a fantastic way to browse through packages, see what I have installed, etc. I would have tried out Fedora by now if I knew I could use aptitude on it.

Comment Re:They didn't succeed though (Score 3, Insightful) 667

on a single sweep the GOP gained control of the White House, congress and, as soon as vacancies are filled, the Supreme Court. Don't expect a lot of pushbacks on those ends.

It depends:

If Trump tries to lighten the amount of regulations on businesses, don't expect a lot of pushback. If he tries to lower taxes, don't expect a lot of pushback.

But a relative of mine said that Trump will start rounding up minorities and putting them into concentration camps. If Trump tries to do anything like that? Pushback. Expect it.

If Trump tries to strip LGBT of equal protection under the law? (I don't know why we are even talking about that, he hasn't historically been negative about LGBT, but my liberal friends are saying he will be a disaster to LGBT.) Again, expect pushback.

In short, don't expect a lot of pushback on the typical center-right issues. But if Trump actually starts doing any of the deranged dictator stuff that my liberal friends are staying awake at night worrying about, do expect pushback. Lots.

I even expect pushback if Trump goes crazy with Executive Orders. For some reason the Congress just took it when President Obama started overstepping the bounds of the Presidency, but I really don't think the Congress will take it from Trump. All the Democrats would be opposed and enough of the Republicans would be opposed.

Also, I'm grimly looking forward to the spectacle once the Republicans start nominating Supreme Court Justices. I expect the Democrats to link arms and obstruct every single candidate, no matter how reasonable and qualified. If they actually do this I then expect to see the Republicans invoke the Harry Reid precedent and shut down the filibuster on Supreme Court Justice nominations. I don't actually want to see this happen, but the silver lining would be the entertainment of watching liberals explain how the Harry Reid precedent isn't really a precedent at all, it's totally different this time, etc.

Comment Re:They didn't succeed though (Score 4, Insightful) 667

if America voted for Trump to break the "the status quo of the elite ruling over us" then you deserve what's coming your way.

Of Trump and Hillary Clinton, which of the two has been in politics for three decades? Which of the two had their political party's highest leadership game the primaries to guarantee they won the candidacy? Which of the two engaged in a conspiracy to repeatedly violate the laws pertaining to handling of classified information, and then had the Director of the FBI personally whitewash the investigation? Which of the two had the news media helping to bury strong evidence of felony lawbreaking?

It wasn't Trump.

You can be sarcastic all you want, but the news media will be all over Trump, watching for him to do the slightest wrong thing and tell all the voters about it 24/7 for weeks. (He's already in hot water for the crime of telling reporters "I'm done for the night" and then going to dinner with his family. Doesn't he know that the reporters have a right to watch him eat dinner?)

The Congress will actually push back on Trump if he tries to aggregate more power to the Presidency (contrast to President "I've Got a Pen, and I've Got a Phone" Obama, bypassing Congress to bind the USA to international agreements that sure looked like treaties but were not treaties because he said so).

The IRS would refuse to follow Trumps orders if he were to try to sic them on his enemies, while the IRS actually volunteered to do this for President Obama. (I don't think the bad actors in the IRS did it because they personally liked President Obama, they did it because he was a "progressive" Democrat... so they absolutely would have continued to do this for Hillary Clinton.)

The Republican establishment never wanted Trump. He's already shaking things up in Washington D.C.

So I'll grant you that Trump is in the 1% and thus not very well connected to the daily struggles of the "little people" in America. But of the two candidates, which one just might "break 'the status quo of the elite ruling over us'"? Trump. By a landslide. It's not even remotely close.

Comment Re:Definitely Heinlein's best work (Score 1) 227

I consider myself to be very much a Heinlein fan. His later novels were in fact not very good, and I say that as a fan. The best you can say is "they had their moments"... The Cat Who Walks Through Walls had a few fun moments that I remember, but I really don't recommend it.

I don't think any of Heinlein's novels were finished by someone else. However, Heinlein's notes for a novel were discovered, and Spider Robinson was given the task of writing a novel from the notes; this might be what you remembered.

Heinlein is justly famous for his "juveniles" (Young Adult novels), but those books are only about a dozen out of his total body of work, so I don't think you can fairly say they were "most" of his fiction. My all-time favorite Heinlein novel is one of the juveniles: Citizen of the Galaxy, a cracking good story full of interesting ideas.

Like you, I enjoyed The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I read it at an early age, and it convinced me logically that polyamorous marriages are a good idea. If a kid grows up with lots of parents, they can all take turns babysitting or going out, it would be easier for any of the parents to work a part-time job, and if one parent died it would be easier on kids and spouses than if there were only two parents and one died. If the highest purpose of a marriage is to raise children, which I think is a defensible proposition, then anything that improves the chances for success would be a good thing. (People argue that the idea of a one man/one woman marriage is the only time-tested and thoroughly understood kind of marriage; but we don't take kids away from a parent whose spouse dies, and you will never convince me that multiple parents in any combination of sexes will inherently do a worse job of raising kids than a single parent.)

Comment FTL not possible? (Score 1) 102

I have a dim understanding that modern physics believes that faster-than-light travel is not possible, full stop. I don't quite understand the equivalence, but FTL is the equivalent of time travel, and since we believe that time travel would violate causality, we believe that FTL is impossible no matter what mechanism you propose (teleportation, hyperspace, whatever).

Even with the pretty diagrams I'm not sure I get it.

I've also read that FTL shouldn't be impossible if the whole universe had a common frame of reference, but according to the theory of relativity, there is no such common frame of reference in the universe. But I've read a couple of discussions that say that maybe FTL would be possible if "hyperspace" or "subspace" travel imposes a common frame of reference. Again I don't really understand this.

I'd love it if someone with physics understanding could explain it in a way that my poor grasp of physics can understand, using car analogies or whatever.

Comment Re: 1/3 lightspeed (Score 3, Informative) 711

Police Officer: "The light was red; you went through an intersection on a stop light"

Starship Officer: "It was green at the speed I was going"

Did you know that before he wrote the novel The Martian, Andy Weir had a geeky web comic called Casey and Andy? This strip was very popular:

Comment Re:The flip side of having the right dongle (Score 1) 299

Well it looks like the USB A connector has had a good ~20 year run.

That's a good point. And I'd much rather see USB-C emerge as the ubiquitous one than the special blue USB-A with the extra pins (paired with the special blue USB-B with extra pins, giant and ugly), or the weird Micro-USB connector that is extra wide.

The rule should be "if you see USB-A, assume USB 2.x or older; if you see USB-C, you can assume you get USB 3.x speeds."

Comment Re:The flip side of having the right dongle (Score 2) 299

By the time USB-C becomes ubiquitous, USB-D will be introduced and the whole thing starts all over again.

Unlikely. Everyone's tired of the shifting standards and everyone is ready to take a break and let USB-C become ubiquitous.

USB-C allows the full bandwidth of USB 3.1 to be used, allows enough power to run a real laptop, and has a well-designed connector (good connection, and the only USB connector that is symmetric so there is no "upside-down", it works either way). Also when USB-C becomes ubiquitous, you will only need a cable with USB-C on both ends; you won't need a cable with an A connector on one end and a B connector on the other end. In short, USB-C is a compelling new standard and the industry is driving toward it.

At this time there just isn't anything left that USB-C cannot do, which would require a new connector. People are saying that USB-C will be a standard for the next 20 years. That's a long time in technology, so I don't know if it will last 20 years, but it will certainly last 5 to 10 years.

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