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Scientists Create a "Worth Saving" Index For Endangered Animals

cutecub Are Humans on that list? (259 comments)

...because I know some harry-nosed wombats who would prefer it if we weren't.

-S

more than 3 years ago
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Gadgets For the Ghosthunter

cutecub Re:Funny thing ... (345 comments)

If I say "Ghosts aren't real", I get moderated informative. If I post "That particular Ghost you call god isn't real", I get moderated troll.

Marry Me.

-S

more than 3 years ago
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Flickr Censors Egypt Police Photos

cutecub The unintended consequences of privatization (163 comments)

Because the censorship covered by the First Amendment deals only with the Government.

Exactly. In the US, Republicans and Democrats alike have embraced outsourcing of government services to private companies as a means of saving money.

But what we've lost as a result is accountability, regulation and Redress. No one seems to have considered the consequences of splitting up the Public Square into a million little private squares, each setting its own rules and standards. Or, perhaps, they have considered the consequences and then gone and done it anyway.

-S

more than 3 years ago
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Stargate Universe Cancelled

cutecub Doctor Who is Gallifreyan for Deus ex machina (762 comments)

personally I love the absurdity of their story lines. It just wouldn't be Doctor Who without it.

I agree with you its the absurdity that makes Doctor Who.

The problem I have with the rebooted Doctor Who is that the plots make absolutely no sense - even within the framework of the show. Its like the writers continually write themselves into corners that they aren't clever enough to write themselves out of. So... they just keep letting "impossible things happen."

My favorite counter-example: the movie Time Bandits. That film was totally absurd, just like Doctor Who, but it all made sense. You never got the feeling the writer was messing with you.

-S

more than 3 years ago
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People With University Degree Fear Death Less

cutecub You're being silly... (473 comments)

Its true that Science can't prove, in the mathematical sense, the non-existence of God simply because you can't mathematically prove a negative. But that's true of everything in Science, including crazy ideas such as Gravity, Electromagnetism and Kepler's laws of planetary motion.

The old trope, "Absence of proof is not proof of absence" misses the point. Absence of Evidence IS Evidence of absence.

So, it makes perfect sense to me that people with a higher level of education ( people with more evidence ) would see less need for God or a prescriptive religion.

-S

more than 3 years ago
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Wireless HDMI At 1080p, Lag-Free WHDI Tested

cutecub And as a bonus feature... (171 comments)

...it will pop your microwave popcorn simply by dangling the bag 6 inches from the antennae.

Now that's power!

-S

more than 2 years ago
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Webvention Demanding $80k For Rollover Images

cutecub Add Software Patent Examiner... (314 comments)

... to the list of worst IT jobs.

Can you imagine spending your day reading nonsense like:

Contexts are selected and combined into new information structures called alternates, which are combinable with contexts into preferred situations. The preferred situations in turn are combinable with the foregoing components into meta-situations.

I mean, it sounds like the output of an unholy mind-meld between a scientist and a marketing manager.

-S

more than 3 years ago
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EFF Says 'Stop Using Haystack'

cutecub NPR's On The Media reported on this recently (136 comments)

Unlike most news and analysis programs, "On The Media" actually took some responsibility for their role in hyping this story:

The other guilty party here is us, and by us, you do mean us, among everybody else [LAUGHS] in the media. We aired an interview with Heap back in May, and we were quite impressed with his story. You say that Heap has proved to be catnip for the media. Why do you think his narrative is so appealing?

That's an admission you don't hear too often in the press, oblique though it was.

-S

more than 3 years ago
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For-Profit, Illegal Movie Download Sites Threaten MPAA

cutecub Disney vs. The Russkaya Mafiya (387 comments)

Now THAT is a movie I'd pay money to see.

-S

more than 4 years ago
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Android Copy of Young Woman Unveiled In Japan

cutecub If we can't get CGI characters to act human... (264 comments)

...then we sure as hell aren't going to be able to get robotic characters to act human.

CGI animators, in some sense, have a much easier task then the roboticist. Its much easier to program a full musculature into an animated character than to physically build a robotic one.

The difficulty of all this is exemplified by Robert Zemeckis' dismal "Polar Express" and "A Christmas Carol". Even when capturing hundreds of control points on the faces of the actors, you're still left teetering on the edge of the Uncanny Valley.

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and "Avatar" were more successful because they did complete surface capture of the actors faces rather than point-capture.

Which gets back to the difficulty of making robots appear human. Its the same problem, magnified 1000 times by the fact that, in essence, you have to pack the equivalent of a millions of "control-points" into the robots face.

Not an easy task.

-Sean

more than 4 years ago
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A Printer That Uses No Consumables

cutecub Great for the International Space Station (240 comments)

... or any other isolated work environment, like a submarine, military base, etc.

But as soon as those plastic sheets start making it home in people's brief-cases and notepads, the cost of operation starts to creep up.

Its an interesting niche product that solves one problem ( consumables ) at the expense of creating another problem ( proprietary, expensive print substrate ).

-S

more than 4 years ago
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Has Sci-Fi Run Out of Steam?

cutecub The Future has Arrived, why bother inventing one? (479 comments)

To an author, I think the attraction of Science Fiction is that it allows them to put a veneer of plausibility on settings which would otherwise be too fantastic to be credible. This allows them the freedom to explore ideas or situations which couldn't possibly occur if set in "the real world."

But the current world has become sufficiently complex and interesting that writers such as William Gibson and Margaret Attwood no longer need to set their stories in some near-future dystopia - our current dystopia is sufficient to tell the stories they want to tell.

Gibson's last few books have been set in, effectively, the present day. There's no need for him to go to 2030 or beyond to explore the idea of immersive, ubiquitous computing and communication: we all have smart-phones in 2009. Everyone I see on the streets of San Francisco is walking around in a trance, like they're jacked into Cyberspace.

There's no need for Margaret Attwood to set The Handmaiden's Tail in 2195, there's plenty of opportunity to explore theocracy and coercive reproduction in the crazy, polluted and Balkanized world of the present day.

I think that Science Fiction writers who rely on the old cliches of Warp-drive and alien worlds simply aren't trying hard enough.

21st Century Earth IS an alien world... all you have to do is pay attention.

-Sean

more than 4 years ago
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Did Chicago Lose Olympic Bid Due To US Passport Control?

cutecub Re:Brazil's passport system is no picnic either (1040 comments)

Agreed. In 2004, Brazil turned around and started subjecting US visitors to the same treatment the US was meting out to Brazilian travelers.

As they say on the school playground: "The United States Started it."

The 2016 Olympics should be interesting for American travelers.

-S

more than 4 years ago
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Russia's New Official Holiday — Programmer's Day

cutecub Re:Seems odd... (306 comments)

Or... National Dairy Goat Awareness Week

Goat Awareness Week Proclaimed by Reagan

June 21, 1987

WASHINGTON -- President Reagan took time out Friday from visiting with Chad's president, tracking South Korean unrest and trying to influence a Senate trade bill to proclaim last week "National Dairy Goat Awareness Week."

Acting on a congressional resolution, Reagan praised dairy goats for their ability to thrive in harsh surroundings and for their link with American history.

I'm glad we all have our priorities in order.

-S

more than 4 years ago
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Will You Stream Or Download Your Mobile Music?

cutecub Its Radio vs. Records all over again. (175 comments)

There are times and places for each. Streaming lets you discover new music with little risk. Downloading lets you listen to specific music any time and any place, without regards to network conditions.

Surely, there is room in this world for both models.

-Sean

more than 4 years ago
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Spyware In BlackBerry Updates For Users in the UAE

cutecub Was RIM complicit in the spyware distro? (116 comments)

I'm not very familiar with RIM's network architecture, so it wasn't clear to me whether the UAE needed RIM's help in distributing the spyware or whether it was entirely the doing of the local phone carrier in the UAE.

Would the UAE had to have had RIM's help or did they simply buy the services of the third-party spyware vendor?

-Sean

more than 5 years ago

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