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Panel Says U.S. Not Ready For Inevitable Arctic Oil Spill

Mephistro Re:Australia is ready to save the penguins again (95 comments)

when they needed to clean oil spills off penguins.

That can be done in a fast and efficient way using flamethrowers

about 9 months ago

Why Portland Should Have Kept Its Water, Urine and All

Mephistro Re:Guard (332 comments)

Except for the fact that people consume hundreds of times more water than tuna.

about 9 months ago

Why Portland Should Have Kept Its Water, Urine and All

Mephistro Re:Guard (332 comments)

A gallon or two of methylmercury would probably kill thousands of people, and make many thousands more very, very sick.

about 9 months ago

Anti-Game-Violence Legislator Arrested, Faces Gun Trafficking Charges

Mephistro Re:Well actually he's pretty solidly anti-gun too. (234 comments)

... and you end up with taxes on drugs to pay for some of the likely increase in health problems

If you remove the war on drugs, you also remove contamination -poisonings-, variations in drug's concentration -overdoses-, needle sharing - AIDS, hepatitis- and most of the reasons for violent drug related crimes. Your "likely increase in health problems" is quite unlikely, indeed.

about 10 months ago

Mathematician: Is Our Universe a Simulation?

Mephistro I know one of these!!! (745 comments)


The problem is I don't know how to bring up the console.


about a year ago

Valve's Steam Machines Are More About Safeguarding PCs Than Killing Consoles

Mephistro Oh, well (296 comments)

You can build your own steam machine for peanuts, if you are technically inclined. If you aren't, you can request the help from a friend, and if you can't/don't want to do that, you can still buy a suitable PC an add SteamOS on top. If you're too lazy even for that and have money to expend, you can purchase one of these pretty Steam machines. At the very least you'll be free from the Windows tax and still you'll end up with a full fledged PC with a serious OS (Linux) that can run lots and lots of 'serious apps' + a growing number of games. I think Valve has hit the nail in the head with this one. Kudos to them.

1 year,14 days

The ATF Not Concerned About 3D Printed Guns... Yet

Mephistro If I had to design a weapon to be 3Dprinted... (344 comments)

... it wouldn't be a 'classic' firearm.

You don't need receivers and metallic mechanical parts if you use electric ignition, just an electric trigger, a battery and some circuitry.

You don't need proper barrels if you can use thin standard tubing encased in a 3d printed plastic sleeve, both for reinforcing the barrel and for safety.

You don't need magazines if you can store several bullets in the barrel and make the barrels single use and swappable. Due to their flimsy construction, the barrels should be strictly one use only, having to swap barrels for a new burst.

A company called Metal Storm is already applying some of these concepts in the real world.

As for lack of precision due to the lack of rifling in the barrel... they'd still be great for urban guerrilla scenarios, and probably far more precise than UZI style weapons.

I don't think the ATF guys have thought this one thoroughly enough.

about 2 years ago

Machine Gun Fire From Military Helicopters Flying Over Downtown Miami

Mephistro Re:Provoking (1130 comments)

Reality states that at least it would make weapons more expensive for the criminals. Nowadays thousands of weapons are stolen from their rightful owners, or illegally sold by their rightful owners to criminals every year. As smuggling operations have to compete against these sources of weapons, they have to keep prices low. If you close the former sources, smuggled weapon prices will soar, just like with any other monopoly.

What is more, with the actual status quo, for many crims not having a weapon would be suicidal, as many of their prospective victims are probably armed and willing to shoot at them. It's like an arms race, with the added factor that most of these weapons are sold to both sides by the same companies.

about 2 years ago

New Evidence Indicates Amelia Earhart Survived For a Time on Pacific Atoll

Mephistro Re:Who? (365 comments)

Most people have heard of the first woman to solo the Atlantic

Well, I have heard a lot about that girl who soloed Dallas, but THE WHOLE ATLANTIC? What else?

PD: ;-)

more than 2 years ago

Software Engineering Is a Dead-End Career, Says Bloomberg

Mephistro Re:Nothing new? (738 comments)

"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur."

I also like "Pay peanuts, hire monkeys"

more than 2 years ago

File Sharing In the Post MegaUpload Era

Mephistro Re:Blame Napster (334 comments)

"do you think you can bring Harry Potter onto the big screen without the resources of big budget movie studio?"

Give it ten or twenty years and technology will make expensive films and film studios follow the path of dinosaurs. In that timeframe and thanks to Moore's Law the average user will have enough power at his fingertips to make CGI films indistinguishable from reality, including tricks like motion capture. A group of friends could do a film for peanuts, and if the film is good enough it could make tons of money for its makers. Of course, there would be lots of crappy films, but without the help of some humongous promotion campaign, they would be winnowed out really fast.

In that moment, with good quality films costing less than, say, 50000 $, it suddenly would make sense to obtain revenues by alternative means, i.e. publicity and product placement, and what we call 'piracy' would be the best way of promoting a film.

I think that movie studios are aware of this, and are just desperate to milk the cow as much as possible, before she falls dead.

more than 2 years ago

Early Plants May Have Caused Massive Glaciation

Mephistro Re:not to mention... (174 comments)

The fossil record shows that time and time again biosphere changes are not only recovered from, but that the net effect is dramatically positive in terms of long term diversity.

Yep! You're totally right! If we trigger a mass extinction, in a few millions of years everything will go back to normal, and our descendants -if they miraculously manage to survive - will thank us for our hindsight in causing said extinction.


more than 2 years ago

Project Bifrost: (Fission) Rockets of the Future?

Mephistro Re:Good luck (148 comments)

This thing would be assembled in orbit and would never land on a planet.

How would you send the radioactive fuel to orbit? By FedEx?

about 3 years ago

Doctorow: the Coming War On General-Purpose Computing

Mephistro Re:Rational decisions are relative to wants (439 comments)

Well then by your definition my Linux system contains spyware since it also checks for updates.

There are a few differences:

You can choose to prevent any software in your Linux system from updating, either individually or collectively. You can choose to prevent any software in your Linux system from "calling home" and/or sending data about you.

The updates you received are Open Source programs, and have been reviewed by a community of experts and users before being deployed.

Using Linux -or any other general use OS- lets you choose what programs to install or use. You can install paid-for software, open source software, or even create your own software, without being a prisoner in a walled garden where competition doesn't exist. If you are in the garden, everything is pretty, but you end up paying more and getting worse software, and your data and apps are used as hostages and can be remotely erased or blocked from you, at the whim of a private company.

about 3 years ago

New Record High Temperature At South Pole

Mephistro Re:naysayers (387 comments)

Was there a leather-bound scroll I missed somewhere?

If you believe in everything written in scrolls, you need professional help asap. ;-)

about 3 years ago

Alloy Could Produce Hydrogen Fuel Using Sunlight

Mephistro Re:Paranoid and unfounded (360 comments)

If solar panels were the norm then they might become half as expensive, but batteries, charging systems, and installation won't be.

Economy of scale would affect not only the panels, but the rest of the components as well. Even installation will get less expensive, as the installation procedure gets streamlined and the components better designed, both for efficiency, inter-operability and ease of installation. If I had to place a bet, it would be that the rest of the components would drop prices even more than the panels.

more than 3 years ago

Scientists Sequence Black Death Bacteria

Mephistro Re:It's not even that easy (265 comments)

I must disagree. While washing your hands wouldn't probably do shit in preventing the spread of the Plague, other factors surely would. Frequently washing clothes would reduce greatly the amount of fleas and flea eggs, hence lowering the infection rates. Ditto for taking frequent baths. A sewer system wouldn't make rats disappear but it would keep them away from most humans. In the middle ages there was plenty of food in the streets for rats -garbage, dung, animal corpses...- which made it impossible to isolate rats from the population. And, lastly, the plague could also be transmitted by air, in droplets of body fluids in the victim's breath. Those funny face masks that were so fashionable during the Swine Flu outbreak would have helped a lot in this context.

more than 3 years ago

One Giant Cargo Ship Pollutes As Much As 50M Cars

Mephistro Please... (595 comments)

.. please tell me you were being sarcastic!

more than 4 years ago


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