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NC Planners May Be Barred From Using Speculative Sea Level Rise Predictions

DrMaurer Re:Insurance? (419 comments)

There are no private flood insurance providers in the US. It's all a government program. This is why when it rains and your house gets filled with regular water, the insurance companies don't cover that. Wind and other "storm" damage are covered.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Secure My Life-In-A-Briefcase?

DrMaurer Re:Options (241 comments)

You could easily run TrueCrypt or other encryption software and sync that file that you've made (assuming a file container). It'd make syncing slightly more of a hassle (have to dismount the file, then wait for it to sync, etc.), but totally do-able.

more than 2 years ago

Israel Passes Photoshop Law To Combat Anorexia

DrMaurer Re:Curtail 'free speech' by lying corporations? (488 comments)

Uhh, well, even the summary says that the law is in Israel. Our collective opinions about the political system in the US are...not relevant. We don't have that (kind of) jurisdiction.

I think this is an interesting idea, but I wonder how it will be enforced. Will it be government agents culling the Israeli version of Maxim saying, "Shopped! I can tell by the pixels."?

more than 2 years ago

Planetary Resources Confirms Plan To Mine Asteroids

DrMaurer Re:I'll believe it (500 comments)

I wrote a short story about this. I spent some time looking into the effect of flooding the market with gold (hey, it was my story, right?). Would mess everything up right quick. You could make a fortune on the short-sell kind of thing, but at what cost? Especially since gold is one of those "safe" investments.

Of course it was a story. I won't tell you how it ends, but now that I think about it, it might have been a better story if I had pursued those consequences instead of the ending I did go with. That really does sound interesting. Of course, I'm older how. Who knows?

more than 2 years ago

Demoscene: 64k Intros At Revision Demoparty

DrMaurer Re:Word Salad (207 comments)

I've not programmed properly since the 90's. The closest I get to coding at all is web stuff now, though I don't dare call it programming. I understood the summary perfectly. The OP just might be ignorant. Or an idiot. Or both.

more than 2 years ago

Coca-Cola and Pepsi Change Recipe To Avoid Cancer Warning

DrMaurer Re:California (398 comments)

The target audience is a lawyer.

I know California has this law, but in a more general sense, a lot of these warnings are based on litigation and the fear thereof.


I'm a technical writer. There is a long history of this kind of thing in the vast majority of technical documents that are provided to the end user. It's not looked upon kindly by a lot of technical writers and academics who teach technical writing. If you're looking for citations, you can check out "Writing and Technique" by David Dobrin. He dissects the "user manual" for his coffee grinder (IIRC), which includes such warnings as "Do not use outside." Now, we all know these rules are meaningless, day to day. You could use your coffee grinder outside for a decade with no ill effects, unless it was raining. Or a walnut fell from a tree into the grinder while it was running. Or some other wildly unlikely scenario. But the corporate lawyer needs to cover the company.

He argues that this isn't technical writing at all. I'd probably concur. And yet, here we are. These warnings are plastered everywhere and, yet, people ignore them. Or laugh at them and go through their life not killing themselves with their coffee grinders. And people wonder why the documentation is often useless and filled with such warnings.

A co-worker bought a chainsaw. The manual was entirely filled with warnings. Completely. Now a chainsaw isn't exactly a safe piece of equipment, and so some warnings, maybe even all of them, had a point. But there were no instructions on how to use the thing.

I don't want to blame the lawyer. I can't imagine they like being paranoid, they are just protecting the company.

more than 2 years ago

Stanford's Francis Fukuyama Builds Personal Surveillance Drone

DrMaurer Re:Personal Surveillance? (92 comments)

I wonder what would happen if such a device filmed the owner getting harassed by cops...

more than 2 years ago

Christopher Hitchens Dies At 62

DrMaurer Re:The Atlantic (910 comments)

I wonder what the GP really meant.

Mr. Hitchens was a professional, which is why he was prolific. It's certainly not difficult to write at a high rate and quality when you've been doing it for decades. There are plenty of examples from sci-fi (Asimov) to popular (King) downright "literary" (Burgess) who were prolific and wrote really well (much of the time).

Also, well, he was a journalist. And journalists often have editors. These help. A lot.

more than 3 years ago

Why Amazon Can't Manufacture a Kindle In the US

DrMaurer Re:We can't compete (598 comments)

That's the point... it's not just a factory here and there. Unless you've got a factory that can take beach sand and petroleum in one end and pump iPad's out the other, you need an entire community to work around your factory to keep things flowing. That community is pretty much gone.

Shh! I've also got a bunch of land in Florida I can use.

more than 3 years ago

Why Netflix Had To Raise Its Prices

DrMaurer Re:Cost of mailing DVDs (574 comments)

They overworked their stamp licking team and had to pay insurance costs for saliva gland transplant surgery.

Oh, you laugh. You wouldn't laugh if your tongue was as dry as the Sahara (pardon the cliche). You would _try_ to laugh, but all that would come out would be a puff of dust.

more than 3 years ago

Netflix Deflects Rage Over Price Increase

DrMaurer Re:Perception (722 comments)

I don't care. I've had the same DVD at home for 2 months that I haven't had a chance to watch (maybe tomorrow). This will affect me little if at all. I just won't have to worry about moving that DVD mailer around.

more than 3 years ago

Bill Gates Looks to Reinvent the Toilet

DrMaurer Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (471 comments)

False dichotomy. Straw man. Whatever. Gates isn't just a Christian going to church and doing nothing, nor is he taking the idea of working tirelessly in the background for little change seriously. He's making the most change that he can and driving results. It might not be my business what Steve Jobs supports, but he's not being a good supporter if he isn't doing more (if he can being, admittedly, sick and all) to bring more awareness to his issues.

Bill Gates is performing charity and telling people what he's doing. If you have someone with the public face backing that up with cash, that's huge. Better him that who? Bono. What?

Maybe he changed. I mean, what is he gonna do next, realistically, besides give his fortune away? Run for president? What a waste for little return on investment.

Still not a fan of what he did to get where he is, but...

more than 3 years ago

Treasure Hunter Wants To Find Bin Laden's Body With ROV

DrMaurer Re:Modest proposal (257 comments)

Like a note saying "Hi /b/! 6/16/11"? Something like that?

more than 3 years ago

Human Brain Places Limit On Twitter Friends

DrMaurer Re:Not true. (176 comments)

I talk to the girl at subway a few days a week. I don't even know her name (no name-tag). I have little personal investment in her. I mean, sure, I hope she's doing well, but not any more than any other near stranger.

On IRC and other internet forums, there are a couple people I talk to regularly; mostly just...whatever. I don't touch base with each twitter follower every day. That would be...burdensome. Even if I only have 300 something. Who are mostly spam-bots.

more than 3 years ago

Bin Laden Hideout Recreated In Counter-Strike

DrMaurer Re:Been here a while... (502 comments)

I do not like to get my philosophy from t-shirts. However, I did see one that said "Beware of stupid people in large groups." If you want a little more fanciful take on it, watch a zombie movie. The paranoia is infectious. Hang out with one of them for 10 minutes and listen to them seriously. Take their (largely invisible to them) presuppositions as true. You will be scared.

Of course I don't know enough tea-partiers to determine their average intelligence, but the ones I do know are loud, boorish, and ignorant of all the facts. They are just like the rest of humanity.

more than 3 years ago

Last Typewriter Factory in the World Shuts Its Doors

DrMaurer Re:This is just not true (249 comments)

Where there is still a need to have a handwritten/typed form and a computer cannot do it, then I would imagine a typewriter could suffice. Government-regulated industries (such as pharma) might have one or two for whatever due to validation and other such reasons.

more than 3 years ago

Japan Earthquake May Have Shifted Earth's Axis

DrMaurer Re:physics explanation (253 comments)

I know people in my high school that never took a physics class. That was almost 20 years ago. I think it's probably worse now.

This is not something to be proud of.

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Data-Only Phone, Voice Over WiFi?

DrMaurer Re:VirginMobile (208 comments)

I can speak with certainty.

I don't talk on the phone, so I don't care about VoIP, but they offer at least one Android phone (samsung intercept, IIRC; there may be another one), and so while it's not exactly a speed demon, I can install apps from (and without) the market just fine. Also use MP3s for ring tones, etc.

I also live in the boonies, so the Sprint-backed (?) network is...spotty. I cannot speak about that. It works fine for light use.

Just posting to clarify what Virgin Mobile is. I don't have a solution for OP. :-(

more than 3 years ago

Is Software Driving a Falling Demand For Brains?

DrMaurer Re:This is gonna be very rant like (622 comments)

We're already uncompetitive in a weird way, because we're not working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. Contrast this with, for example, Germany (I won't say France). At least they have mandated vacations of reasonable time.

The question is: is this the kind of competition you want to even be involved in? It's a race to the bottom; do you really want to be first?

more than 3 years ago

Betty Boop and Indefinite Copyright

DrMaurer Re:Weird decision (249 comments)

Have I seen? Very few. That's not a good question. They do happen to have a regular cartoon on the Disney Channel...

more than 3 years ago


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