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Universe 250+ Times Bigger Than What Is Observable

SoapBox17 Re:What does that even mean? (506 comments)

Interestingly, a one dimensional space with no beginning or end requires two dimensions to represent it; the circumference of a circle is a one dimensional space that has no beginning or end. Similarly, a two dimensional space with no beginning or end can be represented as the surface of a three dimensional sphere.

I think, then, it is quite difficult for us as mostly 3 dimensional thinkers to conceptualize a space that has 4 dimensions. (Not the 4th dimension of time, but a 4th dimension of space.) If we could conceptualize that type of area, that's how the universe is. If you go long enough in any direction, you'll end up coming around on the other side. Just like you would on a sphere, but you can do that in any direction.

more than 3 years ago

Survey Shows That Fox News Makes You Less Informed

SoapBox17 Re:Seriously? (1352 comments)

There's a fundamental problem with your assumptions. You started off thinking that healthcare should have a cost at all. If it's a "basic human right" then the answer is that the government should provide it, gratis.

I was/am against the new healthcare crap because its an ineffective bandaid on a terribly broken system. It does basically nothing to address issues with the healthcare system, and instead just creates ways to give care to people who can't afford it, by making others pay.

I don't claim to have answers for how to fix things, but what we've got isn't near fixed. For starters, why don't we require licensed physicians to "donate" a percentage (hopefully less than 50%) of their billable hours to people who can't afford to pay them. Or, why not get rid of insurance companies all together. Just go down to a single plan for everyone, and anyone who wants something else has to pay out of pocket. You may think "oh god who can afford that" but the problem is the prices for the shit are so outrageous. Maybe congress should take a look at the side of malpractice premiums and figure out how to lower those, so that everyone's insurance can be lower. Maybe if we make doctors "donate" some of their hours, we can exclude them from civil liability for anything that goes wrong during those hours.

There are about a million things that could be done to *start* to correct the problems with the *system*. Instead, they decided just pour more money into it. That doesn't sound right to me.

more than 4 years ago

Judge Declares Federal Healthcare Plan (Partly) Unconstitutional

SoapBox17 Re:Surprise move? (1505 comments)

You are only required to buy auto insurance if you drive a car. Don't want to pay for auto insurance? Don't drive.

You are only required to buy health insurance if you are alive. Don't want to pay for health insurance? Don't live.

more than 4 years ago

Bees Beat Machines At 'Traveling Salesman' Problem

SoapBox17 Oh, really? (394 comments)

First TFS and TFA both make reference to problems which "keep super computers busy for days." That's pretty misleading since the bees are only dealing with "a few hundred" flowers. At brute force that would take your cell phone maybe a couple minutes to solve.

But really no details are given. Do the bees still travel to all of the flowers? I'd imagine they might just decide to skip one or two if they don't fall close enough to the path to be worth it. They don't say what they did (probably nothing) to validate that the bees actually found the shortest path. Did the "graph" that they gave the bees include a section where a greedy algorithm would fail? What is more likely is the bees haven't solved it, but found a decent approximation.

I think this is what you get when you let bee researchers write math/computer science articles.

more than 4 years ago

Tennessee Town Releases Red Light Camera Stats

SoapBox17 Re:"Presumption of innocence"? (567 comments)

It always takes two pictures in rapid succession. That's how the person reviewing them can tell how fast you were going. If your car is in the same location in both pictures, you weren't going through the light. If your car is at the line in the first picture, and half way through in the second, then you're screwed.

How do people not know this? It's not that hard to figure out.

more than 4 years ago

Design Contest Highlights Video Games With a Purpose

SoapBox17 Not actually a game (43 comments)

I "played" the winning "game" for about 5 minutes. I think I "played" all the way through. Outside of the few bad grammatical errors, this was not entertaining at all. It's not even a game. It is a mildly interactive narrative. You are in this girl's room, and you can click on things in the room and she will talk about them. ("Oh, that's a picture of my friends..."). There's a print out of a violence prevention website she talks about. The main "goal" seems to be the cell phone you click it you'll learn a boring sob-story about a friend of hers with an abusive boyfriend. Then the credits roll. This does not qualify as a game. It would not teach anyone anything.

If would take an extra 5-10 minutes to add a "choose your own adventure" to this and actually provide a mild form of entertainment where you get to decide what happens, and maybe in one version you convince the friend to get help or something. This fails on so many levels. But I guess, if anyone ever wants to win a game design contest, anyone could win this if they were able to put in more than 30 minutes of effort into the "design." (I admit the art was decent, that's really the only redeeming quality.)

more than 4 years ago

Supermassive Black Hole Is Thrown Out of Galaxy

SoapBox17 Re:Where's the Beef? er, Bow Shock? (167 comments)

If you did manage to tear a "rift" in the "side" of a star, nothing would really happen. The inside of the star is also the center of gravity of the star. The plasma doesn't want to escape, it is being pulled always towards the center of mass of the star. Your rift would pretty much instantly disappear as the gravity of the star continues to pull on the material around it, the star will pretty quickly turn spherical again.

The only way to destroy a star would be to completely scatter all of its material out over an extremely wide area. Keep in mind, solar systems and their stars are formed by giant disks of dust slowingly being pulled together by their own gravity until they form stellar bodies. So to permanently get rid of the star, you'd have to spread it out over an area larger than it's solar system, or it would just re-form again eventually.

more than 4 years ago

James Lovelock Suggests Suspending Democracy To Save the World

SoapBox17 To what end? (865 comments)

A successful global effort to "put democracy on hold" for any reason would be proof enough to me that this planet is not worth saving.

more than 4 years ago

Sony Begins Selling HD Movies On Its PSN

SoapBox17 Titles to "own" (153 comments)

To "own"? Let's not kid ourselves here... there's no real ownership involved unless there is a way to get DRM-free files in 720p off the device using anything other than your eyeballs. I seriously doubt there is, which makes this just a really expensive rental service. I'm sure there are already lots of services which feature renting movies from all 6 major studios while taking your money and laughing about it.

more than 4 years ago

Toyota's Engineering Process and the General Public

SoapBox17 Re:V&V (345 comments)

In this case we aren't talking about spacecraft under extreme conditions. We're talking about a typical consumer vehicle under normal operating conditions.

more than 4 years ago

Suspension of Disbelief

SoapBox17 Re:Ageism (507 comments)

Similarly, in my area it's because of requirements for schools based on the number of families in the area. In many instances the county will force the builder to make age-restricted communities or not build at all because the surrounding schools cannot handle additional kids.

more than 4 years ago

Lines of computer code written in my life:

SoapBox17 More than I thought... (395 comments)

I keep pretty much everything I ever wrote for fun or school in ~/Code. It's more than I thought it would be, actually.

~$ cd Code
~/Code$ find . -regex ".*\.\(php\|c\|h\|cpp\|hpp\|cs\)\$" -print0 > list
~/Code$ wc -l --files0-from=list
362698 total

Not including code for work, of course.

about 5 years ago

IE 0-Day Flaw Used In Chinese Attack

SoapBox17 Re:Attacks targeted IE6 (318 comments)

The IT department at my company actually refuses to allow anything newer than IE 6 because of security concerns. (Seriously.)

about 5 years ago

8% of Your DNA Comes From a Virus

SoapBox17 Re:Useful? (478 comments)

From TFA

Feschotte said this virally transmitted DNA may be a cause of mutation and psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and mood disorders. In his article, Feschotte speculates about the role of such viral insertions in causing mutations with evolutionary and medical consequences.

The article doesn't go into much detail, but one type of virus that looked at specifically is a brain virus, definitely interesting implications for mental health research.

about 5 years ago

Aussie Government Offers $40M To Build a Bionic Eye

SoapBox17 Re:we don't need a "bionic eye" (89 comments)

It doesn't need to be precisely eye sized right now. Just use a high bandwidth short range communication (like blue tooth or some such) to communicate with the "eye". You could much more easily fit the optics and radios and nerve interfaces into an eye with all of the computation (and don't forget power) in something like a wallet sized object in your pocket.

more than 5 years ago

Battle Lines Being Drawn As Obama Plans To Curb Tax Avoidance

SoapBox17 Re:two ways to solve the tax "scam" (1505 comments)

That's an incredibly simplistic view of the situation. Lowering taxes isn't a "reward" for bad companies. It is an "incentive" to all companies to do more business in the US (rather than in other countries where the taxes are lower). It is more of a "decreasing a penalty" than a "reward".

Usually when the government lowers taxes they see an increase in tax revenue because of increased spending since taxes are lower. Instead of easing penalties or adding incentives to do business in the US, the administration has instead elected to add more penalties. Two guesses how that will turn out.... Not like it hasn't been tried before.

more than 5 years ago

Bluetooth Versus Wireless Mice

SoapBox17 For laptops, get a MoGo mouse (519 comments)

I use a MoGo mouse with my laptop. Its a tiny rechargeable mouse that first in the PC Card/x54 slot in the side and recharges there. So it's storage is *inside* the computer which is pretty cool. It uses bluetooth for connection, and I've never had any issues with it.

I don't know how the battery life is though, all I know is it outlasts my laptop and I put it back in its slot and they both charge at the same time.

I love that little thing.

more than 5 years ago

Internal Instant Messaging Client / Server Combo?

SoapBox17 You're doing it wrong (360 comments)

It is preferred that the client not support outside protocols such as AIM, MSN, Yahoo, etc.; if it does, I will have to promulgate and enforce yet one more policy that my techs not connect to them.

It sounds like your network, which contains confidential medical records, is connected to the internet.
So I have just one question: Dear God, why?

more than 5 years ago



Netflix drops Profiles feature, angers users

SoapBox17 SoapBox17 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

SoapBox17 (1020345) writes "Netflix is getting rid of one of it's main website features: the ability to have multiple users associated with one account, each with its own movie queue, movie ratings, and user settings. The e-mail sent to customers claims it will "help improve the website", but it seems to be an obvious attempt to extort money from customers by making them pay for the features they are currently getting for free.

Text of the e-mail:

We wanted to let you know we will be eliminating Profiles, the feature that allowed you to set up separate DVD Queues under one account, effective September 1, 2008. Each additional Profile Queue will be unavailable after September 1, 2008. Before then, we recommend you consolidate any of your Profile Queues to your main account Queue or print them out. While it may be disappointing to see Profiles go away, this change will help us continue to improve the Netflix website for all our customers.

Link to Original Source


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