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India Launches Five Foreign Satellites

cmarkn Re:Great for India (85 comments)

Power is under control of the state and each state's power board subsidizes electricity prices thoroughly and always runs in losses, without a care for better infrastructure or future planning.

This is simply not true at all. There is at least one state, Texas, where electricity prices are set by the companies that generate power and the companies that deliver it. Remarkably, those companies have built capacity as it is needed including wind and hydro sources, and all the while made a profit. Sorry to hear how inefficiently your state is run.

about a month ago
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India Launches Five Foreign Satellites

cmarkn Re:Manned mission please... (85 comments)

The reason you need people in space is that people adapt, improvise and overcome obstacles when things go wrong, and Murphy rides on every mission. Look at Apollo 13. Because there were people on that spacecraft, they were able to complete the minimum mission, getting themselves home alive. Of course if this had it been two robotic vehicles, we could have just said they're only robots and let them fly away like the Voyagers. The point is that people adapt. Look at the Mars Exploration Rovers. They are running down as they collect dust on their solar cells. If there were people driving around there, they'd tear the cover off one of their procedures manual and tape it together to make fenders to keep the dust from being thrown up by the wheels, and they'd simply brush off what did collect.

And there's another reason people must go into space. Look at what Ender was able to do to the Formics in the movie because they put all their eggs in one basket, never leaving their homeworld. All it takes is one massive collision or one alien invasion and we're done.

about a month ago
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Lawrence Lessig Answers Your Questions About His Mayday PAC, Part 2 (Video)

cmarkn Re:Is this really going to happen? (42 comments)

I don't think it's apathy, it's that the video format is so worthless for this, and perhaps that the plan Lessig is apparently describing doesn't even begin to address the problem he claims it solves. A voucher system doesn't take money out of the campaign process, it only gives the government control of who gets the money - which means government controls who gets elected. That's far worse than the system we have now.

These other countries that he points to have something that we don't have in the US, and that is state-run television. You can't just go giving away stuff, like tv commercials, that don't belong to you even if you are the government. He suggests that it would only involve $3 or $4 Billion a year.

I hope this drive of his fails. It only creates a system infinitely worse than what we have now. The 2012 elections cost a total of $6,285,557,223. Now Lessig claims that spending two or three times that much is taking money out of the process. He is wrong. All he is doing is creating a new bureaucracy to suck up a good chunk of that money for themselves and decide who gets to divide up their leavings.

about 2 months ago
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Interviews: Ask Lawrence Lessig About His Mayday PAC

cmarkn Re:Makes News Media Even More Powerful (308 comments)

I wasn't really thinking about debates, although that is one of the most obvious examples of bias in media in our current system. I mean more subtle things, such as who gets their picture on the covers of the news magazines, and the way some candidates get their every speech mentioned in the news, while others are ignored. Inviting candidates to the Sunday morning talk shows is an implicit endorsement. Newspapers interview, and publish press releases from, the people they deem important; they ignore those they don't, though they may be willing to sell them ad space if they have the money.

The problem with plans to take money out of politics is that it gives media control of the process. Of course they are all for these reforms.

about 2 months ago
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Interviews: Ask Lawrence Lessig About His Mayday PAC

cmarkn Reduce Incumbents' Advantages? (308 comments)

How will your plan reduce the overwhelming advantages enjoyed by incumbents so that challengers have a fair chance of winning more than 10% of the time?

about 2 months ago
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Interviews: Ask Lawrence Lessig About His Mayday PAC

cmarkn Makes News Media Even More Powerful (308 comments)

The two major parties have done everything in their power to make sure that minority candidates have virtually insurmountable obstacles to their getting onto a ballot in the first place, and even then these candidates are rarely given serious coverage by the media. If you were to actually succeed in taking the money out of political campaigning, then how do you keep the news media from completely controlling who gets elected by their control of who is able to get their message out?

Don't suggest that a "Fairness Doctrine" will provide equal coverage to all candidates, because there would certainly be a test for "viability" of candidates before they get any taxpayer-provided funding, and only major-party candidates would ever pass that test.

about 2 months ago
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Great White Sharks Making Comeback Off Atlantic Coast

cmarkn Re:Awesome (107 comments)

Where can I get tickets?

Check with Nucky Thompson. He can get you a great spot on the boardwalk.

about 2 months ago
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Great White Sharks Making Comeback Off Atlantic Coast

cmarkn Re:Food chain (107 comments)

Staying at home is probably the most dangerous thing you can do, since more accidents happen at home than anywhere else.

about 2 months ago
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Great White Sharks Making Comeback Off Atlantic Coast

cmarkn Re:Good news! (107 comments)

Works for me!

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Books for a Comp Sci Graduate Student?

cmarkn Re:Beginning Linux Programming (247 comments)

I think you'd be better skipping this and going straight to the authority on this subject: Stevens, W. Richard & Rago, Stephen A.; "Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment, Third Edition"; Addison-Wesley Professional, 2013.

about 4 months ago
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Ancient Egyptians Made Iron Jewelry From Pieces of Meteorite, Archaeologists Say

cmarkn Re:So far and yet.... (47 comments)

This "fascist military junta" is the closest thing to democracy there is in the Arab world. The democratically-elected government they replaced had no intention of allowing anyone else to be elected under their new constitution.

1 year,10 days
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GIF Becomes Word of the Year 2012

cmarkn Re:And also... (315 comments)

No, not pedantic, simply wrong. What separates acronyms, like GIF, from initialisms, like FS and HDD, is that they are pronounced as words while initialisms are spelled out (eg, eff-ess, aitch-dee-dee). There wouldn't be this distinction if the words were always to be "elongated" as you propose. The only people who would write out the full term are lawyers, who historically got paid by the word and therefore developed the silly, pretentious language of their trade (Lawyer language).

about 2 years ago
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Curiosity Spies Unidentified, Metallic Object On Mars

cmarkn Re:C'mon man... (396 comments)

Because paint has mass, so you'd have to remove something else to bring the vehicle mass back down.

about 2 years ago
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Curiosity Spies Unidentified, Metallic Object On Mars

cmarkn Re:Wow (396 comments)

No it wouldn't. Escape velocity is a function of the planet's mass; density is irrelevant.

about 2 years ago
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Curiosity Spies Unidentified, Metallic Object On Mars

cmarkn Re:Wow (396 comments)

Then where did all the methane and ethane on Titan come from? Do you think there were dinosaurs living there millions of year ago to get smooshed? and were they also living in deep space so they could be formed into the giant clouds of methane in interstellar space?

about 2 years ago
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Curiosity Spies Unidentified, Metallic Object On Mars

cmarkn Re:Wow (396 comments)

You may be on to something here. The Giant impact hypothesis remelted a good part of Earth and splashed off the Moon. Instead of a bunch of little watery asteroids, bash it with one big enough to liquify the parts that have cooled and seized up.

Yes, this requires really long-term planning.

about 2 years ago
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Curiosity Spies Unidentified, Metallic Object On Mars

cmarkn Re:Wow (396 comments)

Yeah, but first you have to build the cornfield.

about 2 years ago

Submissions

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Why humans spontaneously combust

cmarkn cmarkn writes  |  about 2 years ago

cmarkn (31706) writes "PEOPLE explode. One minute they may be relaxing in a chair, the next they erupt into a fireball. Jets of blue fire shoot from their bodies like flames from a blowtorch, and within half an hour they are reduced to a pile of ash. Typically, the legs remain unscathed, sticking out grotesquely from the smoking cinders. Nearby objects (a pile of newspapers on the armrest, for example) are untouched. Greasy fat lies on the floor. For centuries, this gruesome way of death has been debated, with many people discounting it as a myth. But spontaneous human combustion is real and we think we can show how it happens."
Link to Original Source
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EU suspends copyright treaty ratification

cmarkn cmarkn writes  |  more than 2 years ago

cmarkn (31706) writes "The European Commission, facing opposition in city streets, on the Internet and in the halls of parliament, has suspended efforts to ratify a new international anti-counterfeiting agreement, and instead will refer it to Europe’s highest court to see whether it violates any fundamental EU rights.

The decision appeared to reflect recognition by European Union officials of the political obstacles. Protests against the agreement were staged earlier this month in several European capitals — including Berlin, Helsinki, Paris and Vienna — by critics who say the agreement would stifle free speech and access to information.

The hacking group known as Anonymous claimed responsibility last week for a new series of hacks against the US Federal Trade Commission and consumer rights websites. The sites were replaced with a violent German-language video satirizing ACTA.

ACTA has been under negotiation for years. Its drafters say it is needed to harmonize international standards to protect the rights of those who produce music, movies, pharmaceuticals, fashion goods, and a range of other products that often fall victim to piracy and intellectual property theft.

The U.S. has signed the agreement. Others include Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea. Mexico and Switzerland participated in the negotiations but have not yet signed.

The EU and 22 EU Member States signed ACTA on 26 January 2012 in Tokyo. Although the European Council — the European Union heads of government — unanimously approved ACTA in December, for the EU to be a party to the treaty, all 27 member countries would have to formally ratify it."

Link to Original Source
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Swiss Govt report: piracy not costing media compan

cmarkn cmarkn writes  |  about 2 years ago

cmarkn (31706) writes "Swiss media companies have been after the government to do something about piracy. The government studied the problem and said downloading movies and music will stay legal.

Going further, TorrentFreak reports the Swiss report found that those who download media files tend to spend more on media than those who don't. Even a Dutch government report from earlier this year, critical of downloading, admitted music downloaders went to more concerts, and game downloaders purchased more games. The idea that downloading replaces media spending has been disproved, at least according to the Swiss report."

Link to Original Source
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The myth of how the Great Depression was resolved

cmarkn cmarkn writes  |  more than 4 years ago

cmarkn (31706) writes "The widespread belief is that government intervention is the key to getting the country out of a serious economic downturn. The example often cited is President Franklin D. Roosevelt's intervention, after the stock market crash of 1929 was followed by the Great Depression of the 1930s, with its massive and long-lasting unemployment.

This is more than just a question about history. Right here and right now there is a widespread belief that the unregulated market is what got us into our present economic predicament, and that the government must "do something" to get the economy moving again. FDR's intervention in the 1930s has often been cited by those who think this way."

Link to Original Source
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cmarkn cmarkn writes  |  more than 7 years ago

cmarkn (31706) writes "ComputerWorld reports that IBM is planning to more than double the speed of its servers from 2.2 GHz to 5 GHz, and start shipping these by the middle of this year. Moreover, they plan to do this without turning these servers into power-guzzling toasters by making them more efficient, using “small, 65-nanometer-process geometry, high-bandwidth buses running as fast as 75GB per second and voltage thresholds as low as 0.8 volts”. They hope to reach new customers in commercial database and transaction processing, while holding on to their current servers’ financial and high-performance computing users."

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