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Comment Sin City - Most Renewable Award (Score 1) 317

By this wacky logic, Las Vegas, the city of excess and far too many lights, is the most renewable city in the US with its power coming straight from the Hoover Dam. This sounds like an achievement no one should be all that impressed with. Managing to stay 100% renewable in drought, nightfall, and calm conditions? Now that would be more impressive.

Comment American Soft Power (Score 1) 125

This is a prime example of American soft power in action. From Hollywood, to Netflix, to Wall Street, to McDonalds, the American culture machine is perhaps the strongest soft power force in world history.

This is one of the primary reasons the embargo should have been lifted a long time ago. American hard power (military, government loans, etc) has always been the go-to strategy for dealing with issues, but they often forget the might of American culture and business.

Why saber rattle at authoritarian leaders when instead you can undermine them from the bottom up? This is the same reason why China fears the free flow of information on the internet.

Comment Re:Are GMOs safe (Score 1) 514

You mean like.. what, caffeine? Caffeine is one of the most common "food produced poisons (insecticide)," as you called it, that humans consume every day.

Try to remember how biology works. Just because something is deadly, dangerous, or annoying to an insect doesn't mean it will have much (or any) effect on a mammal.

Comment Re: von Neumann probes (Score 4, Interesting) 391

It may not be feasible or even desirable. The problem with unlimited mechanical replication is the same problem that happens with biological chemical replication. Errors. You might think digital copying is error free, but that is incorrect. The storage medium can and will cause errors. Self-checking and quality control helps, but eventually any mechanical life form will end up with their version of cancer - an undiscovered error that causes system-wide malfunctions. An intelligent AI would probably realize that unleashing self replicating machines around the galaxy will eventually cause the formation of a group of crazed insane machines that reproduce out of control, and such a group would be a direct threat to it. Remember that errors in biological systems are taken care of by cells that murder malfunctioning ones. In a galaxy-wide mechanical system they would be no way to find, track, and take care of a probe who's children turn cancerous at such distances.

Comment Use sentences + all character (Score 1) 247

The best typed password system I've seen so far uses all characters and encourages sentences. A standard password would be something like: "What? Stop looking at my damn password!"

It is easier for the human mind to think in terms of typical language useage. Sure, that password could be shortened to: W?Sl@mdp! but you get a much longer and easier to remember password by letting them type it in plain English. Get away from the 6-12 character passwords permanently and go to sentences.

Comment International Basketweaving (Score 1) 320

Statistics! Let's just edit the story a bit and see what we get:

In other news, The International Basketweaving company, WellWeaved, said, '[A] whopping 90-94% of the viewers were female, and interestingly enough, only about half of the remaining survey takers felt comfortable being identified as male.

DailyNeedle makes the point that competitive basket weaving communities also tend not to be racially diverse. Quoting: 'Although no studies have been done about race in basketweaving, it only takes one trip to a Major League Weaving event to confirm what Cannon says. With the notably racially diverse exception of the underwater basketweaving community, Middle Eastern and white Americans make up an enormous portion of basketweaving players and fans. Black and Asian basketweaving fans are conspicuously missing.'"

Comment Re:What problem is this solving? (Score 1) 266

Those two words say a lot. Unfortunately, despite having been exposed to unusual things, you're still associating the things that are frowned upon by the establishment as something abnormal and sick.

Haha, sorry, I was being sarcastic with the whole crazy deviant thing. "Crazy deviant" means whatever society decides, at that time, is deviant. With such a rapidly changing yardstick it can be used to label pretty much anyone at any time.

The Nanny State - protecting us, from ourselves, even if we do not want them to.

Comment What problem is this solving? (Score 5, Insightful) 266


What exactly is the problem this legislation is trying to solve? I have seen all sorts of weird stuff on the internet in my years (plus had a few friends that *loved* to send me really wacky things) and yet, somehow, I ended up not being some sort of crazy deviant. But wait - One in a hundred thousand million will be! We must protect the children by censoring half of the internet for the entire nation's population!

Hacking is bad. Censoring the internet for the entire population of your country? Much, much, MUCH worse.

Comment Sounds like the Onion.. (Score 2) 165

.. but ends up as truth.

Seriously though, the NSA is directly involved in lying to Congress. Do you think they would have any system that would allow easy discoverability of their misdeeds? I am sure their processes are in place to make any type of lawsuit or congressional oversight as difficult as possible.

Of course, any results this poor fellow would have received anyway would be just pages and pages of blacked out text with the headers and footers as they only "public" information.

Comment Re:Really?!? (Score 2) 1448

I loved loved loved "Ender's Game" as a youth, but 10 years ago, when I discovered Orson Scott Card's blog and his perpetual stream of scientifically illiterate bigoted ravings, it really tainted everything with his name on it for me.

Err... what? What kind of person stops reading books because they dislike the author's political views and it "poisons the experience?" Did you refuse to read any Charles Dickens in school due to his commentary on the class system? What about Mein Kampf? I expect about 99.9999% of people would disagree with his views, yet many people read it anyway - often required reading in colleges. How about movies? Can't watch an action movie anymore because the director's political views are too unlike your own? Does this also apply to television shows? Music? Every aspect of culture in existence?

Welcome to humanity. Here you will find a ton of people that you will never, ever agree with. However, many of them can still spin a good yarn and create fascinating worlds of fiction. You are doing yourself a disservice if you shut out elements of culture when you disagree with those that write it.

Comment Backwards Capitalism (Score 0) 383

The first major hurdle Apple had to explain is how, by adding another competitor, prices went *up.* As we see in almost every sector, as long as supply isn't restricted (such as with natural resources), a new competitor should always lower prices as they compete for the same amount of eyeballs. Prices wars can often be ruinious (see: the flat screen HDTV industry) and only those with the best supply chain and most competitive parts suppliers can hope to survive.

Apple did a pretty crappy job of explaining any of that and the DoJ just repeatedly pounded it home. In the end, this is good news for consumers and possibly authors as well. If self-publishing becomes more common they will see vastly more money in their pockets. Of course publishers do often provide important quality control roles, though if they can no longer promise exposure and production then we might see a steady move away from them. Perhaps a new independant review and editing industry will rise in the e-book industry for quality control purposes.. either that or a lot of people's crappy fan-fiction will end up at market.

I, for one, can't wait for a Edward and Jacob fan fiction love story to hit Amazon.

Comment Re:Why is this interesting? (Score 1) 170

Not to be harsh but why is this on slashdot? Is it because it was invented by a young female? (If a nerdy boy with really thick glasses invented it, would people care less? Probably.)

1. Because it is nerdy. Hellloooo science fair.

2. Because the item involved is a common household item (flashlight) and nerds like innovations on common household items.

3. Because she is a girl.

Girls are rare in science which makes their contributions more newsworthy. Maybe someday in the future that will change, but probably not in our lifetimes.

Don't worry - I'm sure once the winner of the Google science fair is announced we'll have a story on slashdot for that as well and I'm sure it will be an interesting topic to talk about also.

Comment Re:Why does it only last 20 minutes? (Score 1) 170

Shouldn't it work as long as the ambient temperature is lower than body temperature?

Or does the battery she put in it after not getting it working in time only last that long?

The device is powered by the heat differential. Both your hand and the LED inside are sources of heat, while the only way to remove any heat is via the air. Once the aluminum body is >= to your body heat the device will no longer work.

You can probably get it to last longer by storing it in the 'fridge beforehand, or waving it around like a crazy man to carry off more heat. Either way, after not using it for a period of time it should cool down to background temperatures and will be useable once more. Granted, this isn't going to change the flashlight world, but a batteryless flashlight that works in an emergency as long as the house is less than 90 degrees F might be useful in quite a few places in the world.

Also, remember that waste heat is one of the main forms of inefficiency is almost any device made by humanity. From power plants to cars to electronics - they all have to deal with the problem of waste heat. If she makes even one company decide to focus their attention on larger scale devices to use waste heat in a productive and economical manner then she has helped us all.

Giver her some props. After all, this is way more impressive than your baking soda and vinegar volcano science fair project.

Comment Android games suck (Score 1) 143

Let's face it, the vast vast vast vaaaaaaaaast majority of games on the android market suck. The ones that don't suck usually are slightly novel and become hugely popular - then rapidly die off within a few months.

There are some "premium" games made by SquareEnix and the like, but I don't see being able to build an ecosystem around just a few vendors. The problem is a large, saturated market full of cheap, crappy, time waster games.

I know we like to make fun of the PS and Xbox game markets, but many of those games really are works of art. They have storylines, art direction, and voice acting. They are designed to be "experienced" in a sitting, whereas the vast majority of Android market games are to be consumed in little sips to kill time.

Of course, Google also has the money and the horsepower to push and help to create a real game ecosystem based around Android. They are going to face a major uphill battle though.

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