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Microsoft Rumored To Integrate Android Apps

Thomasje Won't support native code (189 comments)

I'll bet you anything this won't support native code, just like BlackBerry's Android compatibility box. Supporting native code would require running an actual Android kernel, because native code can perform system calls and all that -- it's outside of the Java sandbox.

about 2 months ago
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South Carolina Education Committee Removes Evolution From Standards

Thomasje Re:Excellent! (665 comments)

It also means a country full of religious hotheads, who are going to view their own increasingly bleak existence as the result of a conspiracy of all those godless people in Europe and Asia. You sure you're enthusiastic about that kind of development in a country as heavily armed as the U.S.? I'd rather see them be smart, personally.

about 2 months ago
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Why We Need OpenStreetMap (Video)

Thomasje Other alternatives to Google exist as well (118 comments)

I use Sygic for navigation. They have iOS and Android apps. The apps use maps that are loaded on the device, so they take up a good chunk of space, but on the other hand this means you don't need an Internet connection to navigate (if you've ever been hit with international data roaming charges, you'll really appreciate this), and the app doesn't phone home to Google every time I use it.

They use the same map provider as TomTom. Whether that's better than OpenStreetMap or not probably depends on where you are... I've personally never had issues with map accuracy from any providers, but my travels so far have been exclusively in densely populated parts of Europe and the U.S., which are probably well mapped in any case.

N.B. I don't mean to advertise Sygic specifically; I'm sure other stand-alone navigation apps exist that are just as good. My point is that if you don't want Google to always know where you are, and are leery of the accuracy of community-provided maps, there are good alternatives.

about 3 months ago
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Schiller Says Apple Is the Last PC Maker From the Mac Era, Forgets About HP

Thomasje Only micros? (474 comments)

I know I'm showing my age, but when I was little, computers were these huge things that sat in climate-controlled rooms. Unless that kind of hardware is now removed from the definition of "computer", I can think of a few pre-Apple manufacturers that are still around, like IBM, NCR, and Unisys.

about 3 months ago
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A C++ Library That Brings Legacy Fortran Codes To Supercomputers

Thomasje Re:Code... (157 comments)

I studied math in college, and many numerical algorithms textbooks refer to software as "codes". It seems to be common practice in the computational mathematics world. I assume it goes back to the days before Fortran, before high-level languages in general, when source code literally consisted of a series of codes.

about 7 months ago
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California Becomes First State In Nation To Regulate Ride-Sharing

Thomasje Re:the taxi services have a right to be pissed (184 comments)

Don't hold your breath waiting for prices to plummet when taxis are deregulated. This has already been tried in the Netherlands, and the result was that prices went up, not down, and service got worse, not better, capitalist dogma notwithstanding.
The problem is that taxi drivers need to make a certain amount of money to pay their cost of living, and if the number of cabs goes up while the number of passengers doesn't, they end up spending more time waiting for fares, and less time actually driving. And they can't just hop off to a second job while they are waiting. So, they have to *increase* their rates in order to make up for their reduced number of trips, so taking a cab becomes more expensive, and they will tend to refuse short trips, trying to hold out for the more profitable longer ones, so taxi availability gets worse.

about 7 months ago
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Martin Luther King Jr's Children In Court Over MLK IP

Thomasje Re:End of a Dream (344 comments)

And how are programs like affirmative action following in that spirit? They tell you that, for example, if you have slanted eyes then you immediately deserve lower preference than anybody, but if you have black skin then you automatically get to be first in line.

Holy hyperbole Batman!

Affirmative action means that the kid with brown skin has a slightly higher chance of getting into college than the kid with the pink skin. You know, a little bit of unfairness going *their* way, to counterbalance the unfairness dark-skinned people experience everywhere else in life. Like having odds of landing a job, with a clean slate, that are equal to a white man's odds with the same qualifications *with a criminal record*. If we can't eliminate racism, at least we can try to make up for it somehow, and that is exactly what affirmative action is for. It does *not* mean that if you're black you're automatically in and if you're Asian you're automatically out.

Try some other news sources than Fox for a change. Heck, try some actual *news* sources.

about 8 months ago
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Huge Canyon Discovered Under Greenland Ice

Thomasje Re:How accurate is the sea level rise figure? (137 comments)

Greenland rebounding does absolutely nothing because the "extra" volume is not taken out of the ocean. The water doesn't suddenly jump back up on the land.

It is true that Greenland rebounding won't affect sea level, but not for the reason parent seems to imply. The real reason is that when a land mass is pressed downwards by an ice sheet, it sinks because it displaces material in the mantle. That mantle material is squeezed out sideways, and ends up raising adjacent land masses or ocean floor.

When the ice sheet melts, the displaced mantle flows back, the depressed land rebounds, and the raised adjacent land or ocean floor sinks back.

This effect is currently causing the Netherlands to sink at a rate of about five millimeters per year, while Scandinavia is rising at a similar rate. The rebound from the last glacial, in other words, is still ongoing, and quite significant. (Having to raise sea dikes by half a meter over a century, even without global warming induced sea level rise, is a pain in the ass and not something you can just ignore...)

If Greenland losing its ice and rising causes no dry land to sink but only ocean floor, that floor sinkage will compensate for some of the sea level rise, but not quickly enough to help us save our coastal lands and cities.

about 8 months ago
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Colorado Company Says It Plans To Test Hyperloop Transport System

Thomasje Re:Doesn't anybody read anymore? (258 comments)

Couple of quibbles here. First, you won't traverse that tunnel in free fall: that would require the vehicle to move at orbital speed. If you're thinking of digging a parabolic (or, well, elliptical) tunnel where you could be in free fall at suborbital speeds, you would have to dig much of that tunnel at depths that are impossible with current technology.
Second, but on a more positive note, digging a tunnel that's X times longer than the Channel Tunnel doesn't have to take X times as long as digging the Channel Tunnel. New York to Los Angeles is under land except for a few river crossings, so there is no reason why you couldn't be digging at multiple places at once and create multiple sections of the tunnel concurrently. That would be more expensive, and getting the segments to line up exactly won't be easy, but should be doable.

about 9 months ago
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Researchers Infect iOS Devices With Malware Via Malicious Charger

Thomasje Re:Physical Access (201 comments)

And remember, all this is to support Apple's DRM that blocks 3rd party chargers (or at least prevents them using the fast charge rate).

Huh? I use a third-party car charger, and it fast-charges my iPhone just fine.

about a year ago
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MIT's Charm School For Geeks Turns 20

Thomasje Charm school? Really? (217 comments)

We've managed to get to the point where it's no longer mandatory for women to wear dresses and high heels everywhere. Can we please move on and also stop requiring men to wear suits and ties? If you're looking for an engineer, look for an engineering degree. If you want to hire a model, look for someone who looks good in a suit. Confusing the two is just unprofessional.

about a year ago
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Hockey Sticks Among Carry-On Items TSA Has Cleared For Planes

Thomasje Re:Better Luggage Handling (276 comments)

Maybe I'm just lucky, but I never had anything stolen or destroyed from my checked luggage. Even so, I try to travel light and cram everything into my carry-on... So I won't have to wait for half an hour or an hour at the carrousel, and so I won't have to pay the $25 or more per checked bag.

about a year ago
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Anonymous Helps Find Evidence In Gang Rape Case

Thomasje Re:Anonymous has become Batman. (436 comments)

Yeah, and they would never frame anybody or tamper with evidence or anything, because their motives are always pure and above reproach. And unlike public officers, they're completely accountable!

Wait, who are these people again?

I can't tell if you're a smart guy trying to slam Anonymous or an idiot idolizing public officers. Either could be corrupt and/or unaccountable. Anonymous, however, has no vested interest either way in the lives, well-being and reputations of those in Steubenville Ohio - or their football team (which, if you read the NYT article, seems to be the main concern of many in the town)

How would you know Anonymous has no vested interest? You don't even know who they are. It worries me that people refer to Anonymous as an entity, rather than a mask of anonymity that could be worn by anyone or everyone, and that people ascribe lofty motivations to what is just another bunch of ACs.
Also, lack of vested interest, proven or not, is no guarantee of benign intent. I was falsely accused of several acts of vandalism once, back in school. Once the accusation was made, the entire class believed it and turned against me, and several came forward in following days making additional accusations. I didn't do any of those things but that made no difference to the court of public opinion. Now, you could argue that a bunch of stupid naive kids can't be expected to make sound judgements as to what is true and what is false, but unfortunately most adults are just as credulous, and for anyone to throw accusations about in public can create a dangerous situation. Not something I'd applaud the way I see people doing here. The place to find truth is in a proper court of law, not the court of public opinion.

about a year ago
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Critic Cites Revenge of the Sith As "Generation's Greatest Work of Art"

Thomasje Our Generation? (376 comments)

Hmm, if you're trying to argue that Revenge of the Sith isn't our generation's greatest work of art, shouldn't you try to come up with counter examples that are actually from, you know, our generation? Something bothers me about eldavojohn's summary... Titian: 1488-1576 Bernini: 1598-1680 Monet: 1840-1926 Picasso: 1881-1973 Pollock: 1912-1956

about a year ago
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In the 2012 U.S. presidential election:

Thomasje Re:Vote (707 comments)

"There was no deregulation"? Keep repeating that to yourself often enough and maybe it will become true.

The Glass-Steagall repeal did happen. The failure to properly regulate derivatives markets did happen. And only in a true right-wing fantasy world would *even less* regulation lead to more smaller entities, instead of fewer bigger ones.

about a year and a half ago
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Japan Getting Real-Time Phone Call Translator App

Thomasje Re:Gene Roddenberry does it again! (113 comments)

Fortunately, back then you couldn't patent a concept

Not true. In Richard Feynman's memoirs (either Surely You're Joking or The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, I forget which one), he tells that after the Manhattan project, he and his colleagues were asked by managers to come up with ideas that they could patent. Feynman, half in jest, tossed up a few including "nuclear-powered aircraft" ("nuclear-powered ship" was already taken). The patents were applied for, and were awarded, and a few years later, Feynman was approached by an aircraft manufacturer, who assumed, given Feynman's name on a nuclear-aircraft patent, that Feynman was an aviation and nuclear energy expert.

Now this story is merely amusing, since even today, nuclear-powered airplanes are completely impractical, but still, I'm reminded of this anecdote whenever I hear people claiming that the phenomenon of stupid or obvious patents started only recently.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Depressing Sci-fi You've Ever Read?

Thomasje Stephen King's Under The Dome (1365 comments)

It was so depressing, I was down for days afterwards. I decided never to read anything by King again. (His Dark Tower series is also seriously depressing, but I wouldn't call that sci-fi.) As for hard sci-fi, I'd say Frederick Pohl's Man Plus.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: The Very Best Paper Airplane?

Thomasje The double ring (183 comments)

This (second from right) is my favorite. You do need glue or tape to make it, which may disqualify it from the record books, depending on how purist your rules are.
The one in the photo has a straw for a fuselage, but you can make it from paper by folding a long strip of paper into a three-sided prism and taping or gluing it shut. The two ring-shaped wings should be slightly different diameters, and the plane should be launched small ring forward. It is amazingly stable and I could throw it farther than any competing plane in my class. I'm not sure if it would travel the full length of my elementary-school gym, but it wouldn't surprise me if it did.

about 2 years ago

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