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Science Fiction and Fantasy Author Richard Matheson Dead At 87

SputnikPanic Re:Why so unknown? (57 comments)

He was a master storyteller. He could craft a story in just about any genre, including fantasy romance (Somewhere In Time and, arguably, What Dreams May Come) and western (the novels Journal of the Gun Years and The Memoirs of Wild Bill Hickock). The range of his body of work is impressive.

1 year,28 days
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America's Turn From Science, a Danger For Democracy

SputnikPanic Re:Here we go again with the "Climate Deniers" (900 comments)

Natural climate fluctuation is pretty much indisputable, even with human historical periods (medieval warm period, Little Ice Age, etc). Likewise, the current warming trend is also indisputable, and it's fairly certain that even if it's NOT human caused, it's probably at least human exacerbated.

The US didn't ratify the Kyoto treaty because, if I recall correctly, China and India among others were exempt. The US would have taken an economic hit as a result of the treaty while China, which has only gotten bigger and bigger as a major industrial country in the years since Kyoto, would not have been saddled with the same regulations. This is a legitimate economic issue, but the political argument shifted away from the arena of economics, where perhaps it might have been a bit easier to arrive at an agreement or way forward. The political argument shifted instead to one about the scientific validity of the research. Skeptics deny the science as a way of trying to preempt the political conversation that necessarily follows. I think this is a disingenuous approach. If someone (or some organization) has an issue with the proposed political remedies -- as I sometimes, perhaps often, do -- then they should make THAT that their argument, not the underlying science.

more than 2 years ago
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Missouri Law Says Students, Teachers Can't Be Facebook Friends

SputnikPanic Re:Wait, they have the internet in Missouri? (415 comments)

Apparently they do have the internet in Missouri. They might, however, be lacking the Constitution. Doesn't this touch on "freedom of association" issues?

more than 2 years ago
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Massachusetts Plans To Keep Track of Where Your Car Has Been

SputnikPanic Re:I've been waiting for this. (521 comments)

Maybe, but 2nd Amendment cases have lately been succeeding in court. DC, for example, had its gun ban struck down about a year or two ago.

about 3 years ago
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Massachusetts Plans To Keep Track of Where Your Car Has Been

SputnikPanic Re:I've been waiting for this. (521 comments)

The fact that Mass. would even put together a plan like this shows you just how weakened the 4th Amendment has become. Of all the amendments in the Bill of Rights, this one, it seems to me, is the one that's the most gone.

about 3 years ago
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Chinese iPad Factory Staff Forced To Sign 'No Suicide' Pledge

SputnikPanic Right... (537 comments)

And the consequences of breaking the pledge would be ...?

more than 3 years ago
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NY Times Asks Twitter To Shut Down Retweeting Feed

SputnikPanic Re:Um... (137 comments)

Exactly what the Twitter account in question brought up: "Dear NYT: if you don't want people following your stories on Twitter then you probably shouldn't, you know, post 'em on Twitter."

And to add to the lack of logic and/or sanity, there's this gem mentioned in TFA: The NY Times spent $40 million on a paywall that can be defeated by clearing the browser's cache!

more than 3 years ago
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Gates' Future of Education Straight Out of '60s

SputnikPanic Re:Existence != Importance (203 comments)

For a fun look at our dreams of the future that never panned out, you should check out Popular Mechanics' recent book "The Wonderful Future That Never Was: Flying Cars, Mail Delivery by Parachute, and Other Predictions from the Past".

more than 3 years ago
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Activists Seek Repeal of Ban On Incandescent Bulbs

SputnikPanic Re:Special situations (1049 comments)

Totally agree. Most of the lights I have at home are CFLs, but there are a few places in the house where I want the lights to be at full brightness when I flip the switch or where I *want* the combination of heat and light of the edisons.

more than 3 years ago
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Slashdot Launches Re-Design

SputnikPanic Re:This is slashdot? (2254 comments)

I agree. I was never a big fan of version 2, and my initial take is that this is an improvement. It could do with a bit less whitespace, perhaps, but it's a nice, clean, uncluttered look. I'll have a better idea in a few days, but so far I like it.

more than 3 years ago
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Slashdot Launches Re-Design

SputnikPanic Re:Digging it! (2254 comments)

It'll take a couple days for me to give it a proper test-drive and fully form an opinion, but my initial reaction is positive. Good work, guys.

more than 3 years ago
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Inception, The Social Network, TS3 Get Oscar Noms

SputnikPanic Re:You know... (201 comments)

I went to see Tron Legacy with the missus and had occasional geek-out moments but overall I thought the movie was just okay. I'm old enough to have seen the original in the theaters and to me, the experiences just didn't compare. Not that I ever expected them to. Tron Legacy may have been the superior movie -- maybe -- but there's really a lot to be said for seeing a fantastical movie at the right age. I saw the original Tron when I was something like 10 years old, and it blew me away. Similarly, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Raiders might not be the best movie I've ever seen (although it's still very high up on my list) but no movie-watching experience will ever match seeing it on the big screen at 10 years old.

As for the movies this year, I didn't get out to see very many of them, but I did catch Inception and really enjoyed it. Between Dark Knight and Inception, Nolan has quickly put himself on my "go see whatever he makes" list.

more than 3 years ago
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Google Books Makes a Word Cloud of Human History

SputnikPanic Re:OCR errors (127 comments)

From Google's "about" page for their Books Ngram Viewer lab: "Why does the word 'Internet" occur before 1950?"

more than 3 years ago
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Google Books Makes a Word Cloud of Human History

SputnikPanic OCR errors (127 comments)

AFAIK, Google Books doesn't do the sort of methodical OCR clean-up that Project Gutenberg does, so a lot of Google's digitized books have a a fair number of errors. It'd be funny to see what kind of blips this might creates in our extracted cultural history!

more than 3 years ago
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Rogue Satellite Shuts Down US Weather Services

SputnikPanic Re:A red satellite?!? (202 comments)

Hey, stop talking about me!

more than 3 years ago
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Will Android Flavors Spoil the Platform?

SputnikPanic Re:I Agree (405 comments)

TechCrunch had a really good post a few days ago about carriers exploiting the openness of Android. Worth a read.

more than 3 years ago
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BP's Gulf Spill Report Shows String of Failures

SputnikPanic Re:Bad link (181 comments)

Clearly anything having to do with BP is cursed to fail.

more than 3 years ago
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University Offers Class In Zombie Studies

SputnikPanic Re:Advertising (118 comments)

The problem is that the class seems directed toward zombie-related works of literature (I use the term loosely) and film. What we need is a class that helps prepare students for the coming zombie apocalypse.

more than 3 years ago
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Japan To Launch Solar Sail Spacecraft "Ikaros"

SputnikPanic Re:Icarus? (138 comments)

Creativity points, though, for coming up with a name whose acronym gives the Greek spelling "Ikaros". I've always hated Latinized spellings or names for Greek mythological characters.

more than 4 years ago
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Google Readying To Pull Out of China

SputnikPanic Never should have been there (343 comments)

Good. Google should never have made that devil's bargain in the first place.

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Chimp demonstrates weapon stockpiling

SputnikPanic SputnikPanic writes  |  more than 5 years ago

SputnikPanic (927985) writes "According to a Washington Post article, a scientific paper being published today describes a chimpanzee that demonstrates a rather interesting capacity: the forethought to stockpile stones to be used as weapons. The chimp, which is at a zoo in Sweden, collects rocks prior to the zoo's opening so that he may have them ready for use later in the day when he becomes agitated by visitors. "Many animals plan. But this is planning for a future psychological state. That is what is so advanced," says Mathias Osvath, a researcher and author of the paper. In another example of sophisticated behavior, "About a year after his storing and throwing began ... the animal began tapping stones against the concrete artificial rocks, listening for a hollow sound that indicates a fissure. He would then hit the concrete harder until a piece chipped off, occasionally then hitting it again to make it fist-sized.""
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Is Perl 5 dying?

SputnikPanic SputnikPanic writes  |  more than 5 years ago

SputnikPanic (927985) writes "There are a couple of short but interesting posts over at use.perl.org regarding the state of the Perl world. "Ovid" (no, not that one) ruminates on whether "Perl 5 is Dying", noting that "outside of the COBOL syndrome, Perl 5 is in danger of having no serious long-term future." Ovid follows that up with a post titled "Perl 5 Programmers Are Dying", in which he discusses the difficulty of finding and hiring programmers that are truly skilled in the language and how that in turn is pushing departments to consider moving away from Perl.

I've never done any real application programming in Perl, just lots of small utility scripts and one-off tasks. There's no doubt, though, that Perl has in many instances made my professional life a bit easier, so I can't help but feel some affinity for it. So is Ovid right? Is the bell indeed tolling for Perl?"
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New Kindles aim for textbook market

SputnikPanic SputnikPanic writes  |  more than 5 years ago

SputnikPanic (927985) writes "Two new versions of Amazon's Kindle are in the works, including one that is substantially larger than the Kindle currently available. This new, larger Kindle appears to be Amazon's attempt to gain a foothold in the textbook market. I'm not sure I would have loved spending hours-long study sessions reading off of a Kindle, but all things being equal, I would have much preferred having one e-book reader in my backpack rather than 25 or 30 pounds worth of textbooks. In any case, Amazon stands to gain immensely should it succeed in establishing itself in the textbook market. Textbook publishers, however, also must be swooning at some of the possibilities, such as vastly lower distribution costs, and (assuming DRM'ed textbooks) no used book market."
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Cancer institute head issues cell phone warning

SputnikPanic SputnikPanic writes  |  more than 5 years ago

SputnikPanic (927985) writes "In a story currently receiving a substantial amount of media coverage, the director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute has issued a warning to his faculty and staff to limit their cell phone use due to possible cancer risk. According to the Associated Press story, the director "is basing his alarm on early unpublished data. He says it takes too long to get answers from science and he believes people should take action now." The director suggests keeping cell phones away from the head and "[he] even warns against using cell phones in public places like a bus because it exposes others to the phone's electromagnetic fields." Will Second-hand EMF be the new black?"
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Tim Russert dies at 58

SputnikPanic SputnikPanic writes  |  more than 6 years ago

SputnikPanic (927985) writes "Tim Russert, NBC News' Washington bureau chief and moderator of the popular Sunday talk program Meet the Press, has died of an apparent heart attack. He was 58. He was known as an even-handed journalist who did not shy away from asking direct and often difficult questions of politicians regardless of their political persuasion. Earlier this year, Tim Russert had been named as one of the "100 most influential people in the world" by Time Magazine."

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