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Comments

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Enceladus's 101 Geysers Blast From Hidden Ocean

FatLittleMonkey Re:Astrobiology (33 comments)

what are the odds that a rock carrying hearty earth life made it out there?

More interesting is whether a rock carrying hearty Enceladean life ever made it here.

8 hours ago
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Enceladus's 101 Geysers Blast From Hidden Ocean

FatLittleMonkey Re:Astrobiology (33 comments)

Alien DNA would definitely screw with my Christian belief system.

Why?

You guys survived Earth being round, the heavens not including Heaven, Earth not being the centre of the solar system, then not being the centre of the universe, humans not being the majority of Earth's history and the bible not covering most of human history, and of course not having a single major biblical event (pre-7th century BC) appear in the fossil or archaeological record.

Why would two separate creations of life suddenly throw you?

9 hours ago
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Off the Florida Coast, Astronauts Train For Asteroid Mission

FatLittleMonkey Re:Send a robot (79 comments)

When it's time for an asteroid mission, it will probably be robotic.

ARM is primarily a robotic sample-return mission. The intent is to send a robotic system to intercept and literally bag a small, 5-7m, NEO asteroid, then using ion drive bring it almost all the way back to Earth.

Only the actual sampling will be performed by humans, through slits in the bag with a pick'n'reach tool. Hence in order to create a destination for SLS/Orion that is within the system's incredibly limited capability, the asteroid will be returned to the highest orbit that the SLS/Orion system can reach (lunar orbit) in order to pretend the $30+ billion that will have been spent on SLS/Orion development by then has somehow all been worth it.

It's a bit like sending out a 19th century whaling crew to catch and tow an iceberg back to New York, so that an alternative retarded version of Adm Peary could stomp around on it, waving a toy ice axe, shouting, "I are exploring, derp!" while setting fire to piles of money to keep warm.

The robotic part is a useful mission, IMO. The human part is of course not only a waste, but a waste intended to justify a greater waste. Spending even part of the remaining $20 billion SLS/Orion development on a series of entirely robotic asteroid and comet sample return missions would vastly outweigh the returns from the single ARM human mission.

Aside,

"is one step toward a proposed (mid-2020s) mission to actually visit a captured asteroid in lunar orbit. [...] their mission also includes a 10-minute communications delay, to simulate the high-latency communications with mission control that would be inevitable for an actual asteroid mission."

The moon is 1 1/3 light-seconds away. Hence a 2 2/3 second round-trip delay. Say 3 seconds with relaying. SLS/Orion isn't capable of reaching 5 light-minutes away from Earth. Derp.

2 days ago
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Valencia Linux School Distro Saves 36 Million Euro

FatLittleMonkey Re:TCO (153 comments)

Good point, thesupraman forgot one additional MS TCO assumption:

"There's no ongoing transitional costs from Microsoft upgrades."

Microsoft only compares with a stable Win/Office environment. But often these transitions to Linux/FOSS are made in the face of a major Windows/Office upgrade. So the comparison is "Transition to FOSS vs Transition to different MS-ware".

2 days ago
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SLS Project Coming Up $400 Million Short

FatLittleMonkey Re:SLS and comparing to spacex (132 comments)

Yes, the SSL will start at 70t and move forward to (maybe) 155t.

The 70 ton version won't be finished until at least 2021, work won't start on the >130t version until after 2032. The "Block 0" version might fly by 2017 (if, the GAO reports, they receive more funding.)

Falcon Heavy likewise is supposed to fly by 2015. So allowing for the usual SpaceX delays, probably around 2017/2018, same as SLS-Block-0.

The difference is, Falcon Heavy will cost the tax payers almost nothing to develop and less than $100m per launch.

The SLS will cost around $3b/yr to develop, and at least $500m per launch (ignoring most costs. This was the same kind of number they used for the Shuttle, but which actually cost $1.5b per launch.)

53 tonnes for $100m. Versus 65 tons (about 58 tonnes) for $500m + $12b dev. Or 70 tons (about 63 tonnes) for $500m + $20b dev.

So you could launch 5 FH's for the official "launch cost" of SLS-Block-I. So over 250 tonnes versus about 63 tonnes. And you'd save $20 billion in development costs that could instead be spent on mission hardware instead of launch hardware.

Some things are better built and have less wastage in large intergated units on the ground than assempbled in space.

Define "wastage". If you are spending $3b/yr just to develop the launcher, how much do you have left to develop the mission hardware?

If your launch costs are a tiny fraction of SLS, you can launch more hardware, more often. Which means you can do a lot of testing on orbit. Which lets you incrementally develop your hardware (instead of the current method of one-off, must-not-fail process.) Build a little, test a little. Let your engineers learn their craft before you design the final version. (I wonder how much would have been saved on JWST, had they built multiple versions, starting simple with each adding a single novel capacity. Instead of trying to throw everything into the first and only, must-not-fail version.)

With SLS, you can't afford to build anything to actually launch. With SpaceX, you get to ignore launch costs and just develop mission hardware. And once you get into that frame of mind, you use the same low-cost development model for everything, saving even more money.

4 days ago
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Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

FatLittleMonkey Re:Do you have any hands-on experience ? (667 comments)

Look for IFF (Identification Friend or Foe).

IFF is a military system. Your link even uses the word "military". It is to prevent you accidentally locking onto your own military aircraft.

It is completely unrelated to the civilian transponder system.

about a week ago
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A Look At NASA's Orion Project

FatLittleMonkey Re:Speaking of the future... (108 comments)

How about lobbying for increased funding to NASA for the things it needs,

Two reasons. 1) NASA's funding has been relatively constant, as a percentage of the Federal budget, for 30 years. Lobbying for more funding has resulted in precisely zero effect.

2) It would be worthless giving NASA more funding if it is incapable of managing the funding it already receives, additional funding would be entirely absorbed by the flagship programs, such as SLS/Orion, or on the science side JWST. NASA could already increase the amount of mission it buys with its existing budget by spending it better. And that agency would actually deserve more funding.

And for the record, I wasn't calling for more funding for COTS/CC. (Especially since COTS is finished development and is operational.) But for more programs to be designed like COTS. Multi-vendor, fixed-funding fixed-goal, payment-on-delivery programs. Eliminating the cost-plus model. Eliminating the single massive program that everyone throws their pet dev project into.

For example: There are calls to replace the Russian-made RD-180 engine on Atlas V. This will inevitably end up being an eight year, sole-source, multi-billion dollar, FAR (cost plus) contract for ULA (subcontracting to Aerojet, subcontracting to...) to develop a local version of the RD-180. Every spec will be spelled out in excruciating detail, even though the USAF will invariably approve variations due to the resulting engine under-performing. Probably late and over-budget. All to replicate a surplus 1960's Russian engine that operates in a way US engines traditionally don't.

If, otoh, the same funding was used in a COTS-style multi-vendor program, you would end up with 3 or more brand new engine families, delivering a hell of a lot faster than 8 years, with multiple redundancy for vendor failure. This would not only solve the actual problem (being dependent on Russian engines), it would stimulate a whole new generation of low-cost rocket development, and a whole new generation of engine-development engineers. That knowledge-base could then be set a new task of building the next generation of (say, larger) rocket engines.

about a week ago
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Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

FatLittleMonkey Re:Do you have any hands-on experience ? (667 comments)

I only ask because Singapore Airlines said right after the shootdown that:
"Customers may wish to note that Singapore Airlines flights are not using Ukraine airspace."

Flightradar24. Singapore Air Flight SQ351, 2014-07-17.

SA lied and are being shredded in social media for that comment. Finnair did exactly the same thing. Both have done the "if anyone was offended" non-apology and claimed they were referring to future flights.

about a week ago
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Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

FatLittleMonkey Re:lol (667 comments)

Strelkov/Girkin's military career would be GRU. His domestic "anti-terror" work would be with the FSB. His current work would be GRU.

about two weeks ago
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Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

FatLittleMonkey Re:Do you have any hands-on experience ? (667 comments)

No. I'm pointing how how empty it is today, compared to the airspace around it. Obviously keeping such a big chunk of airspace empty is something that the whole airline industry would want to avoid like the plague.

If Nyder had his way, all of Ukraine, plus Russian and European airspace near Ukraine, plus Iran, Iraq, Syria , Israel, Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, the Pakistan/Indian border, Kashmir, the Strait of Hormuz, Sea of Japan, South China Sea, etc etc, would all be kept clear of civilian air traffic at all times.

And then he'd complain about the density of air traffic in the remaining few routes, and the inherent safety risk.

about two weeks ago
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Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

FatLittleMonkey Re:Do you have any hands-on experience ? (667 comments)

Sure, even if common sense tells you that flying over a warzone is stupid as all fuck, it's okay because other people do it all the time!!!!

Clue

about two weeks ago
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Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

FatLittleMonkey Re:Do you have any hands-on experience ? (667 comments)

That's the same point looneycyborg was attempting to make

You might not have realised that Loony was invoking or just naively repeating certain conspiracy theory Shibboleths, "the plane was a set up, why would civilians be in a warzone?", "whose interests were really served by accusing Russia?" etc.

about two weeks ago
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A Look At NASA's Orion Project

FatLittleMonkey Re:Speaking of the future... (108 comments)

NASA, other than a place for research money to go to die.

NASA still produces excellent research. PICA heat shield and the FasTrac experimental rocket which SpaceX developed into PICA-X and Merlin 1. HL-20, which became Dreamchaser. Transhab, became Bigelow. And so on.

It's on the operations side that they suck. Shuttle. ISS. Constellation/Area. SLS. Orion.

NASA would be an amazing place if you could divert the $3b from SLS/Orion and the $3b from ISS into aerospace research and competitive programs like COTS/Commercial Crew.

about two weeks ago
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Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

FatLittleMonkey Re:War of words ... (667 comments)

It's one thing to keep an open mind, it's another to let the geese run around in there.

about two weeks ago
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Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

FatLittleMonkey Re:lol (667 comments)

The commander of the eastern Ukrainian militia is a Moscow native and "former" GRU (Russian military intelligence) officer with no ties to Ukraine prior to the war.

No-one disputes that. Not on either side, Ukraine or Russian. The only dispute is over that "former". The Ukrainian government says he's still an active duty officer taking direct orders. They even know the name of his immediate GRU commanding officer in Moscow. Russia claimed he "retired" a month before he entered Ukraine.

The "Prime Minister" of the break away territory is a Moscow native. He ran a right wing news service for several years, with the protection and support of the Russian government. He was widely believed to be FSB. He had no ties to Ukraine before the war. He was sent into Crimea as a political "consultant" on behalf of Moscow during crisis there, then "retired" and moved on to eastern Ukraine.

No-on disputes any of that. The only dispute is whether he's FSB and whether he's still working for the FSB.

It seems that it's only really the western media which persists in treating it like a spontaneous uprising by local (ethnic-Russian) Ukrainians.

about two weeks ago
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Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

FatLittleMonkey Re:I don't see the problem. (667 comments)

and the Ukraine government doesn't have that kind of hardware in the first place.

Nonsense. Ukraine has many Buk short range SAM systems (like the one that killed MH-17.) They also have S-200 long range SAM systems.

about two weeks ago
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Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

FatLittleMonkey Re:Do you have any hands-on experience ? (667 comments)

There's also question of motivation. Why would soldiers waste expensive missiles for some irrelevant passenger plane?

To shoot down Ukrainian military aircraft. They had already shot down a Ukrainian transport plane and a Ukrainian fighter within the previous week. They were on a roll.

Why would be there a plane over a warzone in the first place? That just doesn't make sense.

It was a major air route. There were over 50 civilian airliners over eastern Ukraine at the time MH-17 was shot down. And about 24 aircraft flew through the precise area MH-17 was hit, over the previous day. There was a Singapore Airlines jet close enough to MH-17 at the time for the pilots to see it explode.

Aircraft are currently flying over northern Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Israel...

about two weeks ago
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NASA: Lunar Pits and Caves Could House Astronauts

FatLittleMonkey Re:Forward into the past (156 comments)

reverting to a past we had here on earth by living in caves

Ancient humans didn't "live in caves". Caves are just especially good as preserving signs of human activity. You'll note the decided lack of cave dwelling amongst remnant hunter gatherers in the modern world.

about two weeks ago
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Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet

FatLittleMonkey Re:04.10.2010 (503 comments)

Interesting differences. In the Iranian-655 incident, the US admitted it's actions. And Russia used it as an excuse to demand that the US withdraw from the region.

In the Siberian-1812 incident, Russia immediately went into cover-up mode - along with Ukraine, it's then-ally - with Putin claiming that it wasn't even technically possible for the missile to hit.

about two weeks ago
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Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet

FatLittleMonkey Re: meanwhile overnight... (503 comments)

You don't "borrow" a mobile SAM system. It has to be operated by trained personnel. In this case, by Russian military personnel.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Fight you own muscles to create force-feedback on smartphones

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  about a year and a half ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "Researchers in Germany have developed a device that allows users of portable devices, such as smartphones, experience force-feedback from games using just their own muscles... and a small EMS device. When stimulated by a painless electric pulse, the player's arm moves the device in whichever direction the game commands. The player then fights the movement with their other muscles, creating a strong sensation that the device itself is bucking in their hands. According to the developers, users found the sensation much more realistic than traditional vibrotactile feedback. (Should make PvP more interesting too.)"
Link to Original Source
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Multiple minds smooths your ship's path

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  about a year and a half ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "My mind to your mind... my thoughts to your thoughts... Researchers at the University of Essex have shown that combining the output from two non-invasive "brain-computer interfaces", computer-interpreted EEG signals, led to a much clearer signal of the subjects' intention than the output from a single subject. To test this idea, they had two subjects try to steer a simulated space-ship at a target planet, by thinking of one of eight possible directions. While a single user could achieve 67% accuracy, this jumped to 90% when two minds were combined. Researchers believe the technique also compensates for individual lapses in attention, and thus may have applications in real-world space missions."
Link to Original Source
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How do you give a ticket to a driverless car?

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  about a year and a half ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "New Scientist asks a Bryant Walker Smith, from the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, whether the law is able to keep up with recent advances in automated vehicles. Even states which have allowed self-driving cars require the vehicles to have a "driver", who is nominally in control and who must comply with the same restrictions as any driver such as not being drunk. What's the point of having a robot car if it can't drive you home from the pub while you go to sleep in the back?"
Link to Original Source
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Whitehouse Petition to sell Texas to pay off US Debt.

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  about a year and a half ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "Amidst the flood of petitions on behalf of States demanding to be allowed to secede from the US, inevitably came the trolls suggesting that the US at least make some money out of the deal. Sell Texas to Mexico and use the money to pay down the US debt. Still in single digits at time of writing, but well worth supporting for the lulz."
Link to Original Source
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You can't print a gun if you have no 3d printer

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  about 2 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "You may recall Cody Wilson's project to create a 3d printed gun, mentioned previously on Slashdot. Well, the Defense Distributed project has suffered a decidedly non-technical setback, with printer manufacturer Stratasys revoking the lease and repossessing the printer (presumably prying it from plastic models of Cory's cold dead hands.) According to New Scientist the manufacturer cited...

his lack of a federal firearms manufacturer's licence as their reason for the repossession, adding that it does not knowingly allow its printers to be used for illegal purposes.

"

Link to Original Source
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If U R readng ths, I M already dead.

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  about 2 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "A particularly nasty text scam is doing the rounds in Australia. Police say that hundreds of people have reported receiving text messages reading: "Sum1 paid me to kill you. Get spared, 48hrs to pay $5000. If you inform the police or anybody, death is promised... Email me now killerking999@yahoo.com", or variations on the theme. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission's Scamwatch site, also details the threat messages.

(No reports yet of anyone managing to troll the scammers.)"

Link to Original Source
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MS damage washed away by stream of young blood

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  more than 2 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "A new study on mice suggests that damage caused by diseases like Multiple sclerosis, as well as natural ageing, can be reversed by an infusion of stem cell rich blood from younger mice. Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease that erodes the fatty myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord, and can result is serious disability. Similar effects occur naturally with ageing. Via New Scientist:

White blood cells called macrophages from the young mice gathered at the sites of myelin damage. Macrophages engulf and destroy pathogens and debris, including destroyed myelin. "We know this debris inhibits regeneration, so clearing it up is important," says team member Amy Wagers of Harvard University.

Here's a direct Link to the paper, if you have academic access through the paywall.."
Link to Original Source

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Harnessing the energy of Galloping Gertie

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  more than 3 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "You've all seen the footage of Galloping Gertie, the infamous Tacoma Narrows bridge. This is due to a type of turbulence called Wake Galloping, caused by airflow creating lift on the lee-side of cylinders (or cables on suspension bridges.) Now researchers in South Korea have developed a way of harnessing the turbulence to generate electricity. Their device works most efficiently at wind speeds too low for conventional wind turbines."
Link to Original Source
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Multicellular life found at 3.6km under the crust

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  more than 3 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "Researchers from Princeton University have discovered nematodes at depth of up to 3.6km in three gold mines in South Africa, likely feeding on the radiation-consuming bacteria also discovered by the same team. Carbon dating their environment confirms that the 500 micrometres long critters have been there for at least 3000 years and are not a recent contaminant. The finding means that unexpectedly complex ecosystems occur deep underground, increasing the chance that complex life may have survived on Mars according to Carl Pilcher, director of NASA's Astrobiology Institute, "The significance was that you could imagine an ecosystem existing in the subsurface of a planet that didn't have a photosynthetic biosphere, like Mars," he says.

Until now, it was thought such an ecosystem could be made of bacteria only. But Onstott's new findings have completely changed that. "These nematodes are grazing on microbes. So now you could imagine that if animal life had ever developed on a planet, and the surface of that planet became lifeless," Pilcher explains, "you could imagine that animals could coexist with microbial ecosystems all powered by radioactivity."

"

Link to Original Source
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Can computers be used to optimise the US tax code?

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  more than 3 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "Science Fiction author, David Brin, wonders whether the US tax code, described by President Obama as a "10,000-page monstrosity", could be dramatically simplified. No, he's not trying to get support a libertarian wet-dream "Flat Tax", this is about using computers to... shuffle the existing system.

"I know a simple way the sheer bulk of the tax code could be trimmed by perhaps 70% or more, without much political pain or obstructionism! ... it should be easy to create a program that will take the tax code and experiment with zeroing-out dozens, hundreds of provisions while sliding others upward and then showing how these simplifications would affect, say, one-hundred representative types of taxpayers ... Let the program find the simplest version of a refined tax code that leaves all 100 taxpayer clades unhurt. If one group loses a favorite tax dodge, the system would seek a rebalancing of others to compensate. No mere human being could accomplish this, but I have been assured that a computer could do this in a snap."

With all the talk about Open Government, perhaps the computer code currently used in tax modelling could be released to the wider community, leading eventually to a Folding@Home type project."

Link to Original Source
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Can't get enough Will & Kate? Now meet their k

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  more than 3 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "Prince William and Kate Middleton met while attending the University of St Andrews, so it seems... appropriate... that the Perception Lab at St Andrews would have a go at predicting the appearance of the royal couple's future "heir and a spare".

New Scientist also tries its hand at some evolution-centric royal fan-fic.

Oh, and feel free to participate in Perception Labs' experiment."

Link to Original Source
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South Australia to drop MA15+ video game rating

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  more than 3 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "While its former Attorney-General Michael Atkinson actively campaigned against an R18+ rating for video games in Australia, the new South Australian Attorney-General John Rau says he will abolish the MA15+ rating in SA after the introduction of an R18+ rating. To better differentiate "between what adults can get and what children can get", games will be rated G, PG, M, and R18+.

"I will push for the South Australian position on MA15+ games to be adopted nationally, but if it isn't, I'm prepared to go it alone," he promised, calling the MA15+ classification "dangerous".

"Besides," Rau says in an interview to Gamespot, "if the latest surveys about the average gamer being a 32-year-old single male who sits at home and plays games all day are correct, then what I am proposing is not going to have much impact at all." Ouch.

All of this follows a review of the classification system in general, so Rau may be reflecting a more general move away from MA15+ in all media."

Link to Original Source

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