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Comment Re:perfect coffee... (Score 1) 162

Oswald McWeany sneered:

Let me guess, you voted for Trump.

No, genius. I did not.

I'm not insane, I base my beliefs on scientific facts - and, absent specific technical expertise of my own, I place considerably greater confidence in the opinions and analysis of actual experts in a given field than I do on those of Internet trolls with no such credentials.

Comment Re:perfect coffee... (Score 1) 162

Oswald McWeany insisted:

None of that says I am wrong. "Burnt" is subjective. Just like with toast, some would say that toast is burnt the moment it gets dark brown crust on the outside of it (carbonization), others say it is when it turns black and it's best when it is dark brown and crunchy. Just because some Hawaiian barista likes medium roast doesn't make dark roast "wrong" or "bad". In much of the world a medium-dark to dark roast is the preferred amount of roasting.

If you want truly "burnt" that would be a Spanish roast when the beans are literally blackened.

Either you're being purposely obtuse, or you're functionally illiterate.

The expert with whom I talked was the Kona Coffee Growers Co-op roastmaster. His job is to supervise the roasting of TONS of Kona coffee per day, prior to it being bagged and shipped to customers of the growers' co-op. There was a barista in the shop - but he wasn't it. He was a technical supervisor of a factory operation. And, when HE said that dark roast coffee burns the skin off the bean (and French roast burns the bean itself) he meant exactly that: not "turns it dark brown", but actually BURNS IT.

Comment Re:perfect coffee... (Score 2) 162

Oswald McWeany opined:

Matter of taste. "burnt" is just a darker roast that is preferred in most of the world.

Sorry, but you're wrong.

Back in the 1990's, on vacation in the Big Island of Hawaii, my wife and I got caught in a genuinely torrential downpour while driving on a narrow, two-lane road on the Kona coast. Rain so intense that I literally couldn't see more than five feet beyond the hood of our rental car. Scary, actual, given the winding road. So I pulled off into the first space we saw (at about 5 MPH) - which turned out to be the Kona Coffee Growers Co-op's storefront/roasting facility. After ten minutes of sitting in the downpour, with the windshield fogging over, I said, "The Hell with this,", and we made a dash from the car to the front door of the Co-op.

Inside the store, it turned out they had a little museum exhibit, with displays on growing and processing, along with plenty of merchandise. And coffee, of course. We browsed the museum and checked out the merch, and, pretty soon, we'd exhausted the entertainment potential of the place, while, outside, the rain continued to hammer down relentlessly. So, out of boredom as much as curiosity, I asked at the counter if the Co-op's roastmaster was available to chat. As it turned out, he was.

Nice guy. Friendly, intelligent, and, as you might expect, tremendously knowledgeable about all aspects of coffee production. We chatted about growing conditions and the rarity of what's called "peabody beans" (double-centered coffee beans that produce especially smooth and flavorful coffee, and which are around twice the price of the already quite pricey regular Kona stuff) how the coffee *quot;cherries" are fermented, lightly mashed, and the fruit is separated from the pit of the cherry (the pits being what we call coffee beans), dried, then roasted. All quite interesting. Eventually, the subject got around to varous roasts, and I mentioned to him that French roast had always tasted burnt to me.

"That's because it is,quot; he responded. "The difference between medium and dark roast is only 17 seconds in the roaster, but, in that 17 seconds, the outer skin of the bean actually begins to carbonize. The longer it stays in the roaster from there, the more the skin burns, and the darker the roast becomes." He also told me that he, personally, preferred a medium roast - and that a light roast, while it produces fairly weak-flavored coffee, retains considerably more caffeine than darker roasts. (The darker the roast, the less caffeine in the brew.) Thus, the lighter the roast, the bigger the kick.

So, no. I'm sorry, but you're wrong. Dark roasted coffee is produced by actually, physicallly burning the skin of the coffee bean. roast (Starbucks' default roast) is produced by allowing the beans to remain in the roaster until the skin burns away and the outside of the inner bean itself carbonizes.

In other words, the characteristic taste of French roast is due to the fact that the beans it's made from are half charcoal.

Comment "Consortia wants" ... ? (Score 1) 110

Dear EditorDavid:

If you're going to claim to be an actual editor, it would behoove you to learn the basics of English grammar. The rule is: one actor wants, multiple actors want.

In this case, the word "consortia" is plural in form, so they "want." It's subtle, I know ... but, if you'd prefer that people who care about language and communications (you know - writers, professional editors, and educated readers) not laugh and point when your byline appears as the editor of stories posted to slushdot, you really should learn and apply that rule.

Just as importantly, your headline claims that it's " Ethernet consortia" that are expressing this desire, whereas the body of the article makes it clear that it's actually the New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory that wants this, since it's the party that's trying to push for it. So, the headline is not only grammatically incorrect, it's factually challenged, as well.

Welcome to Slashdot ...

Comment Read Plato's "Republic" (Score 1) 609

Plato's classic work "The Republic" does what I think is a pretty good job of analyzing various forms of government in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. His analysis of the weaknesses of democracy is, I think, particularly insightful. His conclusion - based on the evidence of history up to his time (early 4th century BCE) - is that reprensentative democracies are extremely responsive to the will of their citizens in their early days, when the voters are afire with enthusiasm for the task, and mostly knowlegeable about the issues to be addressed. However, as time goes on, the citizenry tires of the demands of informed governance and begins paying less and less attention, until only an active few bother to study the issues and evidence needed to govern wisely.

At that point, demagogues arise, offering simplistic solutions to the now-largely-uninformed electorate, with the goal of empowering themselves and/or their patrons at the expense of the commonweal. The result - inevitably, in Plato's view - is either a demagogic tyranny (which eventually either becomes a monarchy or sparks a revolution against the tyrant), or an oligarchy or plutocracy, thinly disguised as a nominal democracy (but which is entirely anti-democratic in actual practice).

Unfortunately, Plato's proposed solution to the array of sub-optimal government models is an ant-like, essentially communist state, led by a council of "philosopher-kings". The society he advocates is based on a rigid caste system, with strict rules of conduct, enforced by Draconian penalties for what he defines as subversive activities (including the death penalty for poetry and music!). It employs a ubiquitous secret police force to continuously spy on the "citizens" of his misnamed "republic" - which is, in fact, the most repugnantly repressive model of a dictatorship by central committee I can imagine. Plato's entire rationale for this hideous excuse for a government is that philosophers are obviously the wisest members of society, and thus the fittest to rule.

And, yes, if it sounds familiar, that's because Lenin based his governance model for the USSR on a blend of Marxian economics and Platonic leadership ideas.

I'm a fan of Dr. DeGrasse-Tyson, but I suspect he has not read "The Republic". At least, not recently ...

Submission + - Study finds udio fingerprinting being used to track web users (

thomst writes: Natasha Lomas of TechCrunch reports on a Princeton University study on a new tracking technique that uses the AudioContext API to create a machine-unique signature. The researchers used an open-source tool called OpenWP to scan the top million websites (as determined by Alexa) for clues to trackinhg companies that use the technique.

The good news is that the audio-fingerprinting technique is not yet in wide use by data miners. The bad news is that none of the most commonly-used tracking blockers detects or can prevent its use to stalk users.

Comment Re:Darrell Issa is a perfect example (Score 1) 306

cat_jesus noted:

Darryl Issa is an intelligent guy. He's also a well-educated guy.

Unfortunately, he's also a grandstanding, profoundly partisan hack who doesn't give a damn about facts, because he represents a redder-than-red district, so he only cares about getting more face time on Faux News ...

Comment Re:SEC block? (Score 1) 303

swalve insisted;

There are only two signals you can send to your cable company: giving them money or not giving them money. When you keep giving them money, you are telling them that you approve of their behavior and wish them to continue. Continuing to pay them for a service you don't think is worth the money is utter stupidity.

So, your proposed solution is that I either give up Internet access altogether, or switch to using my ILEC (which means giving up my VoIP landline) for access?

Purely symbolic personal actions are easy - as long as you don't care about self-harm.

The problem is that I have no other choices of ISP. This is not just my personal problem. It is a problem of US national policy. Depriving TW of my monthly fee won't accomplish ANYTHING useful. Changing national policy - making cable ISPs common carriers, being the most obviously useful immediate change - WILL. So I argue in favor of that change, because pursuing that change by publicly advocating it as a response to Comcast's bid to become an effective monopoly player in the US cable industry IS useful.

Denying Comcast's attempt to acquire TW would also be useful - but only in the short run. Making acceptance of common carrier status for their combined ISP business a condition for approval of their merger would be more useful, long-term.

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