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Comment No Exploitation of 9/11 Act (Score 1) 296

I'm proposing my own new legislation, the No Exploitation of 9/11 Act. According to this act, any politician who tries to justify their legislation by invoking the terror attacks of September 11th, 2001 will be immediately removed from, and forbidden from ever again holding, any public office. Goddamned vultures.

Comment Email (Score 1) 306

But the password to my email has to be sixteen characters, with at least one upper case, one lower case, a number, a symbol, an umlaut, a character from the pinyin alphabet, and one of those Arabic squiggles. Assholes.

"That's a battery!" "Correct, horse!"

Comment Re:I want one (Score 1) 109

The biggest flaw is that this is an expensive piece of custom equipment. No criticism of Dr. Jansen intended; he made the gadget he wanted to have. But I would like to see a design that is less expensive and mass-produced

Dr. Jansen agrees with you. From the Mark 2 Design Philosophy section:

Accessibility (cost): "To create something that was as inexpensive as possible, so that people might easily have access to them without having to worry about the cost".
Comment :: This is something I don't feel I did very well on. A ballpark estimate for the component cost of a single Mark 1 was about $500 when I constructed it, which feels like too much. For every household to have their own Tricorder, it feels like something around $100 to $200 is a more accessible price range, and to have one in every child's hand such that they might easily learn more about their worlds both in and (especially) outside of school, that number likely has to be under $50. Thankfully, much of the cost comes from sensors (which are rapidly decreasing in cost), and from PCB production (which is almost negligible in quantity).

Comment Re:The problem with college textbooks (Score 1) 396

And what really makes them expensive is that there might be three or four thousand copies printed total, so that everything that went into writing that book has to be recouped off of just three or four thousand copies, instead of the millions of copies for pulp fiction titles.

Millions of copies? For the rare best-seller, maybe. More like thousands for the popular titles, and hundreds for the rest.

I would argue that a text book is actually more likely to earn out than a novel, because a text book (probably) has a guaranteed audience.

Comment Re:Give to 1 area, ur taking from another (Score 1) 112

There's a very good long-term reason: starvation.

In centuries past, there was a very good probability - almost a certainty - that you would undergo occasional, extended periods of lack. An animal that has too much unnecessary muscle mass would be less able to survive this deprivation.

Modern, industrialized humans don't have this problem, though. If anything, we suffer from too little lack. We never fast, and the genes that carry out repairs during times of fasting never get turned on.

From a health perspective, people with more muscle mass are more likely to survive, period. When someone dies of "old age", it's generally because they don't have enough body mass to support their organs.

There might be some other long-term problems with these modifications - fucking around with the genome is kind of a novelty right now - but on the face of it, this seems like it could be a good thing. Particularly to people with a muscle wasting disease.

Comment Re:Aw hell... more standards for me to publish to. (Score 1) 76

Smashwords is so frustrating.

On the one hand, it lets me reach Kobo and Sony, which I just wouldn't have access to without a middle man. Their coupon system makes it easy for me to do promotions and giveaways. And their royalty sharing is very fair.

But their formatting ... the Meatgrinder software has earned a special place in one of the deeper circles of hell, as far as I'm concerned. I have no idea how they thought it was acceptable to throw out eBooks that don't even have chapter breaks, but that's what they do.

And their insistence of calling everything the "Smashwords edition" and inserting a special "Smashwords license note" and refusing to acknowledge the existence of Amazon just seems ... petty. Understandable, but unprofessional.

So, yeah, even though I get a higher royalty from Smashwords, I direct my readers to Amazon or B&N first, because they sell a nicer looking product, which makes my writing look more professional. Or at the very least, detracts from it less.

Comment Re:Aw hell... more standards for me to publish to. (Score 3, Informative) 76

I think the fact that Amazon uses a proprietary format is a heaping pile of crap, but that's as a user, not an author. As an author, I just upload the ePub I generated for B&N and let Amazon handle the conversion to whatever they call their zip file full of HTML.

I use Scrivener to do my writing, and it exports to ePub directly. There's also a plugin that will export to Kindle format, if you want to do that. And it exports to Word, which is what I have to use for Smashwords. And it exports to PDF, which is what I use to edit. It's a fantastic piece of software.

But, yes, the rest of the world needs to get on the ePub train. It's a really nice format, very fit for what it does.

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