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The 2014 Hugo Awards

TheGavster Re: "Time" won Best Graphic Story? (180 comments)

It's actually several thousand frames that play out a sequence of events. It was notable both because of the unique presentation (most frames, particularly the early ones, change only subtly) and because of the details that go into establishing the otherwise unexplained setting.

about two weeks ago
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Researchers Find Security Flaws In Backscatter X-ray Scanners

TheGavster Re: This is ridiculous. (146 comments)

What activity would the TSA need to install body scanners at to cross the line for you? The train? Subway? City bus? Terrorists have blown up far more cafes than airplanes, so logically you should need to be scanned to buy coffee. And it wouldn't be an imposition, since you're there voluntarily!

about two weeks ago
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Gmail Now Rejects Emails With Misleading Combinations of Unicode Characters

TheGavster Re:all of them then? (79 comments)

The "restrictive profile" that Google is using for the filtering is defined in Unicode as any combination of the Latin character set with another set or sets, with the exception of very specific combinations (selected legitimate combinations of Asian sets that contain radically different letter forms and thus are unlikely to cause confusion).

about three weeks ago
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Google Sells Maine Barge For Scrap

TheGavster Re:Why is this news? Seriously? (79 comments)

I'm glad I'm not the only one who's been like "oh, you mean the datacenters on barges for the cooling water, from several years ago?" whenever someone brings up these "super secret" Google containers!

about a month ago
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35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

TheGavster Re:i blame my kids (570 comments)

Children are simultaneously the most expensive and least liquid luxury you can get. If it's hard to make ends meet, maybe you should have gotten something more sensible and resalable, like a boat.

about a month ago
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Greenpeace: Amazon Fire Burns More Coal and Gas Than It Should

TheGavster Re:Hipsterism at its finest (worst?) (288 comments)

You fail to account for how slow SD cards are so that they need to be powered longer to extract data off them.

Every so often, this argument is brought up. What universe do you live in where the wireless interface is faster than the local storage? MicroSDHC cards read at 832Mb/s (104MB/s = 832Mb/s). 4G LTE tops out at 300Mb/s (wiki). And that's optimal speed, not accounting for latency. On my personal mobile device, playing a 5 minute song from Amazon's cloud service takes 1-2 minutes to buffer and then keeps the radio going the rest of the 5 minute song. From local storage, that song would load into working memory in less than a second.

Regardless of the net energy usage, the propagation of cloud services for things that could very easily be handled locally is completely insane.

about a month ago
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The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist

TheGavster Re:McCarthyism v2.0 (242 comments)

We have always been at war with Eastasia!

about a month ago
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Geographic Segregation By Education

TheGavster Re: Translation (Rough) (230 comments)

Steve Jobs didn't run around with a resume because he went and started his own business. At the time, his talents were with something new, and wouldn't have been recognized by established companies anyway. If you think that your skills are something special, you serve yourself better by going and using them in an original way as an entrepreneur rather than trying to fit in the box of some established job. Of course, it is much easier to have someone else start a business and provide work for you to do, but then we;d have to acknowledge that the guy at the top is doing something special deserving of his wealth-gap-inducing income.

about a month and a half ago
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FAA Pressures Coldwell, Other Realtors To Stop Using Drone Footage

TheGavster Re:Perfectly appropriate action for the FAA to tak (199 comments)

I think that it's hard to draw a logical link between someone buying a quadcopter and Wal-Mart and doing something irresponsible with it because they aren't a dedicated member of the RC community, and a commercial entity using a RC planes/helicopters in the course of their enterprise.

In the former case, it seems that the issue is that technological advance has removed the barriers to entry that have historically regulated access to these machines to those who have a responsible and dedicated interest in the field. Perhaps regulations are needed as to the capabilities and safety features of "cheap" RC craft, similar to how there are limits on the model rocket parts you can buy at the big-box.

In the later case, for-profit companies use all manner of potentially dangerous equipment, often in places where it might come in contact with the public. Imagine if the DOT prohibited taking a vehicle on the Interstate for a commercial purpose; it would be absurd. Instead, you can drive the company pickup just the same as if you were driving your own. Then, for larger vehicles or those being used in a non-standard manner, there is a system of commercial driving licenses and insurances.

about a month and a half ago
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FAA Pressures Coldwell, Other Realtors To Stop Using Drone Footage

TheGavster Re:Not a rule - Not just the FAA (199 comments)

The problem with the approach the FAA has been taking on this issue is that the deciding factor is whether money changes hands. If an activity is safe for a hobbyist to perform, why is it suddenly dangerous and in need of regulation when a professional does it? If anything, commercially operated remote controlled planes/helicopters would be safer in a given situation, as the parent company is going to have real liability insurance, and the insurer is going to have all sorts of maintenance and training requirements.

about a month and a half ago
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Dubai's Climate-Controlled Dome City Is a Dystopia Waiting To Happen

TheGavster Re:Not about jealousy, but ... (265 comments)

The extra ironic part is that by selling you the gasoline to burn, they contribute to the slow heating and eventual flooding of a city that is basically on an island at sea level ...

about 2 months ago
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Site of 1976 "Atomic Man" Accident To Be Cleaned

TheGavster Re: Hmm (299 comments)

In the short term, that analysis may be correct, however for work that is both skilled and dangerous you need to factor in how difficult it will be to find a replacement technician after it becomes known that you let the last one perish. There is additionally the external cost of reduced effectiveness from the management team who would need to work through the emotional impact of watching someone die when they could have helped. Economics can model much more than the actual dollars ;)

about 2 months ago
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FAA's Ruling On Smartphones During Takeoff Has Had Little Impact

TheGavster Re:Do people even know the ban has been lifted? (128 comments)

This is actually the first real word I'd seen on it. I flew back in May and remember not hearing a notice when we crossed 10k feet that we could use devices, but just figured that I'd missed it. The cool part to watch out the windows is under 10k anyway :P

about 2 months ago
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That Toy Is Now a Drone

TheGavster Re:Gilbert U238 atomic energy lab was a "kids toy" (268 comments)

The largest hazard with that set seems to be swallowing the parts, in that in addition to potentially choking on small parts, some would sicken or kill you if you managed to choke them down. For mature children though, looks like a cool toy to use under supervision (for educational guidance in addition to safety).

The real problem with that thing seems to be that it was quite expensive, and even more expensive to produce (the company lost money on every unit).

about 2 months ago
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Federal Judge Rules US No-fly List Violates Constitution

TheGavster Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense (276 comments)

Entries in the no-fly list are sufficiently bare of details that by the law of large numbers, most of the entries probably apply to a US citizen somewhere, even if the entry was added for a specific non-citizen. Hence why there are periodic stories of family vacations stopped by the US Government accusing 3 year olds of terrorist sympathies and soldiers recently returned from duty of being the enemy they were just engaged with.

about 2 months ago
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Federal Judge Rules US No-fly List Violates Constitution

TheGavster Re:Here's the Solution (276 comments)

The trick here is that he was powerful enough to get them to look it up and find out it was a mismatch. You or I (presuming you're not a Senator posting under a pseudonym?) wouldn't get that luxury.

about 2 months ago
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After 47 Years, Computerworld Ceases Print Publication

TheGavster Re:Magazines still exist? (105 comments)

This. Particularly since many print magazines don't print the numbers on a surprising number of pages (ads, the first page or spread of an article, on infographics ...) so there isn't even an easy way to seek to the continuation.

The web has invented its version as well, though, with what would be a six-inch newspaper article spread across 3 pages. "one page view" is now a subscriber-only feature :/

about 2 months ago
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US Secret Service Wants To Identify Snark

TheGavster Re:Seriously? (213 comments)

That's easy: If it's an anonymous threat, it's not serious. Much like: "There was a bomb threat today? Statistically, we're safer today than yesterday!"

about 3 months ago
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Solar Roadways Project Beats $1M Goal, Should Enter Production

TheGavster Re:Thermodynamically Impossible (311 comments)

Solar powered melting devices have two advantages over blacktop from a thermodynamic perspective:
- Blacktop conducts part of the collected heat into the ground, whereas solar collection could hypothetically collect the energy before it gets to the ground, leaving more available to radiate back upward.
- When it isn't snowing, blacktop still radiates into the air above it. These devices could store energy to be released only when it's actually snowing.

That said, implementing these devices as anything other than a billionaire's ruinously expensive driveway seems impractical. The actual devices would be absurdly expensive to produce in that quantity with the amount of semiconductor fabrication and precision assembly. Ignoring materials, installation would cost much more than a normal highway, since this essentially combines the labor-intensiveness of a cobblestone road with the specialized labor requirements of a hardwood floor. Lastly, that energy storage mechanism that makes it remotely feasible would be similar to replacing the fuel tanks at every gas station with the batteries of a Tesla charging station.

about 2 months ago
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How the USPS Killed Digital Mail

TheGavster Re:Their business model sucked (338 comments)

You can specify senders whose mail is to not be opened. Basically, it's $5 a month to have someone throw your junk mail away for you.

about 4 months ago

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