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Researcher Evan Booth: How To Weaponize Tax-Free Airport Goods

Bluesman Re:They needed research for this? (288 comments)

You can put alcohol or chemicals from aerosol cans on you or your clothes and light it without injury. The chemical will likely burn off before it heats your skin enough to burn you. A simple wipe or pat down would kill the flame.

If you try this at home, please have a fire extinguisher or bathtub full of water to jump into. It's possible to let the fire burn too long and have your clothes start to burn.

1 year,15 days
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Ask Slashdot: How To Make a DVD-Rental Store More Relevant?

Bluesman Start trading DVD's. (547 comments)

Don't focus on renting DVD's. A lot of people own a few hundred DVD's that they don't watch. Offer to buy those, and sell used DVD's cheap enough so that it amounts to a rental that you don't have to return. You can make money over and over on the same DVD that way.

Allow people to do this by mailing in DVD's. Make it as easy as Netflix.

Otherwise, make him watch the latest Halloween South Park and pour him two or three shots of a good single malt scotch.

about a year and a half ago
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Obama Calling For $53B For High Speed Rail

Bluesman Re:DO WANT! (1026 comments)

We pretty much know that the economy runs better with a slight amount of inflation. What that means is that the government has to "print" money each year to increase the amount in circulation. Even with zero inflation, if the economy is growing (people do more stuff, make more stuff, etc.) then more money has to be printed to prevent deflation. So we print more money. The important question remains: how does that money get into circulation?

A good way to inject the money is to spend it on infrastructure projects. This does, in fact, create jobs, either directly or indirectly.

A bad way to inject the money is the way the government currently does it, which is through manipulations by the Fed to increase money lent by banks, which is the primary means of commercial money creation in the U.S. This has the drawback of creating a massive amount of debt, shared by you, me, the government, etc. We've seen recently how this can lead to massive irrational lending and bubbles and crashes. Not really a good thing.

Check out this video for a more interesting and comprehensive take on money creation: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2550156453790090544

more than 3 years ago
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Man Gets 12-Year Jail Sentence For Planting Child Porn On Enemy's Computer

Bluesman Re:Perverting the course of justice. (448 comments)

>and ignoring that order would still escalate the matter to criminal levels

There you go. Possession isn't illegal, ignoring the court order not to delete it is. Simply having a picture on your computer where the model failed to sign a release won't ever land you in prison. This is a workable system that avoids the complications of ruining innocent people's lives.

I've been falsely accused of things although never had to fight the justice system for my freedom, and I've known plenty of people whose lives have been turned upside down after they were falsely accused by overzealous child protective service workers. I've known plenty of law enforcement people who I wouldn't trust to do the right thing in any of these cases. This is scary shit.

more than 3 years ago
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Researchers Develop "Tea Bag" Water Filter

Bluesman Wow! (119 comments)

It's almost as if someone invented a disposable Brita water filter!

more than 3 years ago
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How Should a Non-Techie Learn Programming?

Bluesman Re:HTML, Notepad (346 comments)

Shoot, sorry to reply to myself, but the alternative to MySQL is PostgreSQL, and it's much, much better. Trust me on that. Nobody gets it at first, but anyone who spends any significant amount of time using RDBM's properly will end up wondering why MySQL even exists.

more than 3 years ago
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How Should a Non-Techie Learn Programming?

Bluesman HTML, Notepad (346 comments)

Odds are you'll never have enough time to learn programming at the depth that someone who is very good at it knows it.

Start small. Learn how to write a static web page using nothing but Notepad in Windows. Then, when you've mastered that, try using CSS to change the way it looks.

At this point, you can get into Javascript, which is a fantastic language for learning. Try to make something on the web page change when you mouse over it. Experiment with changing text fields in Javascript.

Then, write a simple "desktop" calculator as a web page.

This will likely take you a few months or weeks if you spend a lot of time at it. Remember, use Notepad only. Don't worry about making it work in anything but Internet Explorer (or your browser of choice) because that will make you insane.

When you can write Tetris, then you're ready to work with databases and servers.

Don't use MySQL, it's an abomination. If you have Microsoft Access, start with that. Make a project in that that real people will use. If maintaining it becomes difficult, it's because you don't know enough database theory. Figure out on your own why you want data to be fully normalized and only flattened with many saved SELECT queries. Try to figure out how to write the queries in SQL using the (excellent) query editor. Write UNION queries.

Now you're ready for a server and web site.

more than 3 years ago
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Heat Ray Gun Fails Final Test; Nixed From War

Bluesman Re:11,000 times on 700 volunteers (299 comments)

You're assuming they tested it on one person at a time. More realistically, they would fire it on a much larger group to test its crowd control capability.

So really, this paints the picture of a group of 100 people getting hit with the ray, standing up and cheering, "FUCK YEAH! Hit us AGAIN! WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" about 1000 times.

I'm thinking they tested it on drunk frat boys.

more than 3 years ago
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Open Source Transcription Software?

Bluesman Re:Dear aunt, (221 comments)

by making informed guesses based on context, which a computer program cannot do.

The Perl interpreter can.

more than 3 years ago
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Stop the Math Press's Presses — Knuth Announces iTex

Bluesman Re:Perspective vs. Tunnel Vision (284 comments)

Lyx is cool, but I like LaTeX by hand because it's just faster. Anything repetitive I write my own definitions (i.e. macros) for, so it's a huge time saver.

I really dislike WYSIWYG. I want to type, never use a mouse, and have the program format it for me.

more than 3 years ago
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Stop the Math Press's Presses — Knuth Announces iTex

Bluesman Re:Perspective vs. Tunnel Vision (284 comments)

I did my thesis in LaTeX; in fact I learned LaTeX to do the thesis so I wouldn't have to use MS Word. I probably didn't save any time since I was starting from scratch with LaTeX and had to update the school's age-old LaTeX template to work with the newer versions, but man, when I saw everyone else struggling with Word and whatever awful math plugin they had to use, I was glad I took the extra time.

Now I use LaTeX whenever I can since the output is so beautiful and I can type lists and tables a lot faster than I can mouse them in in Word.

I highly recommend it.

more than 3 years ago
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Students Show a Dramatic Drop In Empathy

Bluesman Re:Rather a Poor Metric (659 comments)

Plato's quote is especially hilarious when considered in light of Athen's continued dominance as a world cultural and military power.

more than 3 years ago
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I suspect my current job will end when ...

Bluesman Re:Retirement? (409 comments)

Air Force? Forget traffic accidents, you're much more likely to get struck by lightning on the base golf course.

more than 3 years ago
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Supreme Court To Rule On State Video Game Regulation

Bluesman Re:Why is it so hard... (278 comments)

If the State of California were the U.S. Congress, then you'd definitely have a point.

States have historically had more leeway in such matters; there used to be no problem, even Constitutionally speaking, with an individual state having an official religion.

more than 3 years ago
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Ubuntu Claims 12 Million Users — Before Lucid

Bluesman Re:Recent Fedora (360 comments)

I'm using the 9.10 netbook remix. On the old laptop I can't remember which version...probably 9.10 also.

They both did weird things, like show networks with odd undecodable Unicode characters in them that I've never seen before. Like you try to connect to a network and all you see are letters with umlauts and Mahjong tiles.

about 4 years ago
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iPhone OS 4.0 Brings Multitasking, Ad Framework For Apps

Bluesman Re:Whoa, whoa (983 comments)

This is my favorite Mac fan characteristic...the complete 180 when the new thing comes out with absolutely no hint of compunction.

I remember when they were singing the praises of cooperative multitasking.

about 4 years ago
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iPhone OS 4.0 Brings Multitasking, Ad Framework For Apps

Bluesman Whoa, whoa (983 comments)

Wait a second here. Wasn't the lack of multitasking a feature that made the iPad and iPhone so great? It allowed you to relax and compute!

What are they doing? Why is Apple taking all of the zen out?

about 4 years ago
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Ubuntu Claims 12 Million Users — Before Lucid

Bluesman Re:Recent Fedora (360 comments)

Network managers actually manage networks.

That's huge. I love Ubuntu on my eee 1005, but the default Gnome network manager is a piece of shit. It's a piece of shit on an older laptop I have too...it works sometimes, if you shake the laptop right and the stars align properly.

I installed wicd on my netbook which is great except it forgets ssid's of hidden networks. Apparently this has been fixed in the latest wicd, but the changes have not propagated to Ubuntu yet. I have a script that logs me on to my home network...but that sucks and means I can't recommend Ubuntu to anyone who wants to put Linux on an old computer.

This is basic stuff; I'm surprised given Ubuntu's track record that it's not perfect by now.

about 4 years ago
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Dell To Leave China For India

Bluesman Re:doublespeak (352 comments)

Conductive doesn't sound safe to me...

about 4 years ago

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