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Why We Still Can't Really Put Anything In the Public Domain

fyngyrz Overblown nonsense. (98 comments)

From TFS:

...there's no clear way within the law to actually declare something in the public domain. Instead, the public domain declarations are really more of a promise not to make use of the exclusionary rights provided under copyright.

Ok, so the statement is about a clear way to put something in the public domain. Here's how you clearly put something in within the law: (1) You declare it public domain. (2) Now, keeping it there: You simply exercise a level of ethics even a 5 year old understands: You don't go back on your word, because (for one thing) that would make you a major fucktarded scumbag. (3) Whatever it is, is in the public domain, stays there, totally within the law, end of story.

Sometimes the ideas of law -- which is a hugely flawed instrument -- and the result of actions taken/not-taken get all confused in people's minds. If you want to put something into the public domain, do so, and subsequently just exercise a minimal level of personal honor, and you can be sure that your intent will carry through. The only one who can screw this up is you, and to do that you have to act in a particular way which guarantees you are knowingly acting like a dickhead. So when this clown tells you that you can't get it done, he is impugning your honor, not describing reality, and the only reaction you should have to that is annoyance.

Given that you are honorable and simply don't go back on your word, the user has nothing to worry about either.

So this really isn't about law. This is about your behavior.

Now, I grant you that most an entire generation having grown up with the idea that it's ok to steal IP, and the toxic idiocy of the "information wants to be free" crowd additionally muddying the waters, and the proliferation of people who just can't seem to keep their word, one might have reason to be cynical about this. But remember: TFS is saying that it is hard to put something into PD. It isn't. There's no reason you or I have to act without honor, and there are many reasons, starting from simply sleeping better at night, that we ought to act with honor.

Yes, I've got stuff out there that is PD. No, I will never, ever revoke that status. See how easy that is? 100% effective, too.

2 days ago
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Should Disney Require Its Employees To Be Vaccinated?

fyngyrz Broader implications for health care (660 comments)

There are those who say we should not be responsible for seeing to it that the least-earners among us have health care, sick days, etc. But that whole petri dish thing... that's the result.

Joe the McDonald's window guy has flu/whatever, but he can't take a day (or 3 days) off (might not be allowed to, but can't afford to anyway so, the former is moot.) So Larry goes for lunch, and comes away with whatever Joe had as a bonus. And that goes on all day, for several days. While everyone else in the McDonald's catches it too, thereby extending the event even further, basically until every employee's immune system have handled the problem. And of course, there will be the occasional person who can't manage it -- for whatever reason... compromised immune system, preexisting disease process that complicates matters, old age, whatever. For them, matters can be much worse.

Either we admit that we need to take care of everyone, for everyone's sake, or we'll just keep running into situations where transmissible diseases have far more chance to spread than would otherwise be the case.

Odds are excellent that the only thing unique about the Disney event is that someone noticed it. Most people have probably been on the receiving end of such "petri dish events" many times. Anywhere you have a person with a transmissible disease in a condition suitable for transmission (usually not the entire course) that faces the public, the potential exists.

Anyone in that state should be in bed, properly isolated and medicated. Every time that doesn't happen, we're just shooting ourselves in the foot.

4 days ago
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Local Motors Looks To Disrupt the Auto Industry With 3D-Printed Car Bodies

fyngyrz Say... (126 comments)

If the car is really dirty, the heck with washing it. Just turn it in and have it reprinted. :) Ok, maybe not. But:

Reprint if you have a fender-bender. Hailstorm. Cat climbed in an open window and sprayed your seats.

Just reprint the car. Love the idea of having it melted down and re-using the material(s.)

I suspect the feds will have something to say about safety issues, though.

4 days ago
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Senator Who Calls STEM Shortage a Hoax Appointed To Head Immigration

fyngyrz Re:You're really missing the fundamental issue (512 comments)

Fuck us or not, the situation is what it is. Either we address it, or we don't. Reality is like that, kiddo.

5 days ago
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The Paradoxes That Threaten To Tear Modern Cosmology Apart

fyngyrz Re: Seems... facile (230 comments)

Lemme look... on the vortex container (you know, where all the dirt swirls around), it says "US Mobius Glass, 4th dimension containment division. Certified for virtual particles only."

That help any?

5 days ago
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The Paradoxes That Threaten To Tear Modern Cosmology Apart

fyngyrz Re:Seems... facile (230 comments)

You have not refuted any point I made.

What is the energy level of a cubic foot of space exactly 1 light year past the furthest star on a line directly away from us that is still technically in Andromeda? Presuming you could supply that information (you can't) can you assure me that said cubic foot is in no way contributing to the particular flux of a cubic foot of space one light year the other way? (you can't.)

So the delusion you're carrying around that you know what's going on and are able to definitively say so in such a way as to pooh-pooh my questions is unmasked, and all your complaints resolve to nothing.

I'll be blunt: There are NO "biggest results" in astrophysics that can answer those questions. Consequently, any answers you claim to have in that regard are, at best, evidence-free supposition.

5 days ago
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Senator Who Calls STEM Shortage a Hoax Appointed To Head Immigration

fyngyrz Problem with current system (512 comments)

In theory, an H-1B worker is someone who has specialized knowledge not available among US citizens.

A few more years of tech people being unemployable, no one will prepare for tech work here (Why study for an unemployable specialty? Why hire instructors for a course with no students? For that matter, see any courses on buggy whip manufacture?), and the above will go from theory to actuality. If we're going to fix it, we're going to have to fix it now. Otherwise... catastrophe.

And I'm pretty sure that actually means "catastrophe."

5 days ago
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Senator Who Calls STEM Shortage a Hoax Appointed To Head Immigration

fyngyrz You're really missing the fundamental issue (512 comments)

but then the cost of living is a lot less in India.

So is the quality of life. We'd like to avoid that.

There are two paths: We degrade our QoL opportunities to rice/noodles/curry+hovel, or they increase their QoL to steaks+home+car+retirement. Either path can be taken, or both with a meeting somewhere in between.

Right now, though, because they have access to our economy for marketing -- selling skill and product -- but they are not operating in our economy for cost of manufacture/labor, we simply cannot compete. Either we break the cycle or this will destroy the rest of our economy just as it has already eviscerated various high profile sectors: rare earths, copper mining, electronics, cars, engineering work, monitors/televisions/displays, pretty much anything China makes, etc.

At this point, the best -- as in, most effective and sure to work -- option is to completely deny foreign access to our economy so we can rebuild. But in order to do that, all those free-market idealists will have to admit they were wrong. And like most things of every class of issue, people really don't like to do that. So probably what you're witnessing here is a complete economic collapse in the making, one that can only be diverted by a major paradigm shift, such as full conversion to an economy of plenty. Robots everywhere, money no longer used to represent work because work doesn't matter, AI, etc. Unfortunately, that looks far enough off, and we're already far enough down the path of economic collapse, that we're not likely to catch such a shift before we shit ourselves and fall in it, economically speaking. At which point, about 1% of the US will move elsewhere, and the rest of us will fight -- most likely literally -- over whatever remains.

Free trade was a nice idea. But it wasn't a good idea.

5 days ago
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Senator Who Calls STEM Shortage a Hoax Appointed To Head Immigration

fyngyrz Not so difficult (512 comments)

It's a tough problem to fix. If we come down too hard on companies for hiring guest workers, they'll often open off shore offices.

It's simple (not the same as easy) to fix. (1) Raise trade barriers. (2) If you're in the US, you bank in the US, you invest in the US, you use US materials, you hire US workers, you buy US manufacturing equipment and tooling, and you sell to the US market. (3) If you're not in the US, you don't get to sell to the US market. Period. So if company A moves out of the US, company B will simply take over the market company A abandoned.

We have the resources, we have the workers, and we have the market. What we have to stop doing is bleeding work into other economies, while expecting our standard of living, which was based on our economy, to be retained. We cannot do that while economic systems we have no control over are low-balling the cost of our consumables.

So we either lower our standard of living so we can become employable (doubtful); or go without (that's happening... many of us are unemployable at practical wages); or we develop our job market in the same economic context as we develop our consumables market.

That last is what I'm suggesting. If we do not do that, then until other country's standards of living rise to the standards of ours, we will continue to bleed jobs and prosperity in their direction. Equalization can occur in two ways: Our standard of living can drop to rice+hovel, or their standard of living can rise to house+car+retirement. Presently we are 100% engaged in the former, with no sign whatsoever of being able to get free of the fall. There's little to no sign of the latter.

If we do do that, then we can keep the barriers one way until our economy stabilizes again, and then when it does, drop them just far enough that foreign countries have access to our markets at our prices for items we also sell (only those. If we don't make the item, they can't sell it here. That way, if our market wants it, we get a fair crack at manufacturing it.) In this way, they can compete on quality and style, instead of the economic leverage a piss-poor underclass gives them.

They also have the option to take the higher earnings for their products back and spin up their economies. They probably won't, and frankly, it shouldn't matter to us if they do -- but the opportunity would be there. Give the peasants something to revolt over.

5 days ago
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Researchers Moot "Teleportation" Via Destructive 3D Printing

fyngyrz Hmmmm (162 comments)

Can you think of an instance where you would actually want the capabilities this machine claims to offer?

Yes. Yes, I can. Let's use this as the new transport mechanism for congresspersons. What a problem-solver!

5 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Has the Time Passed For Coding Website from Scratch?

fyngyrz Re:efficiency (300 comments)

Mine is similar; however, I've come to the conclusion that it's not the language itself, it is the use of incredibly inefficient building blocks from elsewhere. If you don't do that, you can do pretty well in c++. Personally, I have little use for most c++ idioms; what OO I find useful is generally better handled directly.

5 days ago
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Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

fyngyrz Yes, but (307 comments)

So called 'positive rights' are entitlements that require that governments strips rights from some people in order to provide those 'free' entitlements to others.

Agreed. However, this not a bad thing in and of itself. By stripping you of the right to arbitrarily murder me, they give me the right to not be arbitrarily murdered. And vice-versa. I call that a complete win.

In the case of what many like to stuff in the same bag as "entitlements", the rights being stripped are fractional portions of income, and the rights being enabled are, quite often, the difference between life and death or suffering and no suffering, or disease transmission and no disease transmission. I tend to regard those entitlements as entirely worth my loss of right to my income. Others do not share my interest in the general well-being of the public. Debate ensues.

It is not always clear that such rights-trading by force as government fiat is inherently bad. Some rights-trading is no doubt bad.

For instance, part of my right to my income is being traded for bombing and otherwise harming foreigners for the sole purpose of subsidizing the MIC (extend their right to a cushy income), and I am dubious that an adequate defense could be made for this kind of thing.

Net Neutrality is an entitlement, where people are trying to use force of government to strip rights from individual ISPs to shape their traffic on their networks the way they see fit.

When an operation - electricity, communications, water supply, networks - consumes some portion of an inherently limited domain, and that operation is critical to the good fortunes of the public, then we may need to regulate what those given the opportunity to provide services in said limited spaces can do.

The FCC regulates how wide and splattery a transmitted signal can be. This is an appropriate act of guarding the use of a privileged, limited resource for the benefit of the public, though it inherently limits the rights of the transmitting party. The PUC regulates prices charged for fuel. This is an appropriate act of guarding a limited, privileged resource for the benefit of the public, though is inherently limits the rights of the fuel provider. And so on.

This is what makes the debate legitimate, and the potential application of limits / restrictions legitimate. Bandwidth providers are players in such a limited space. If they want to do something where they are not critical to the public good, and therefore responsible for the public good, and therefore held to limits designed to address the public good, then they should be in another business.

5 days ago
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The Paradoxes That Threaten To Tear Modern Cosmology Apart

fyngyrz Re:Seems... facile (230 comments)

Yes, I do. Because we have no such evidence; we can't make the measurements it would take to get said evidence.

You are confusing assumption with evidence. They are not the same.

5 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Has the Time Passed For Coding Website from Scratch?

fyngyrz efficiency (300 comments)

There are two types of efficiency here.

The first is up front design efficiency. The time it takes to develop the code. This could be impacted by a combination of a poor c/c++ programmer and a decision to use it. You pay for this loss of efficiency once, if indeed it is a loss (likely it would not be much or any of a loss if the c/c++ programmer is competent.)

The second is execution efficiency, that cost that is paid every time someone uses the facility. Here, using c/c++ can (should, again with a competent programmer) provide a much faster response time with all the benefits that accrue from that, and these benefits will be gained again and again, every time someone uses the facility. As compared to, for instance, Perl or Python.

You can consider client-side execution, but if you choose to use it, you're locking out many potential visitors who will not be able to use your pages. There are huge numbers of devices out there that are old and/or small, and they simply don't do client-side stuff. Even knowing your site is targeting "only" owners of, say, IE, doesn't justify such a choice; because in the real world, people won't always have IE in their pocket. If someone can't browse your site at lunch with whatever is in their pocket, the odds of them coming back later -- much less buying / participating now -- drop precipitously.

Part of the job is to determine what kind of traffic could be encountered, while knowing the capacity of the hardware you have available, and then figuring out which efficiency you're better of going after.

If your web site serves one person in the organization, and they only check in once a day, then if Python is fast enough on your desk, its fast enough on their desk, too, at least if it doesn't impact the site's ability to do its other tasks, like serving WAN customers. But if your thing is WAN facing, and could potentially see any number of customers up to the max the server can handle, then you'd best consider execution time efficiency before you consider up-front development time efficiency (and again, if you hire a competent c/c++ programmer, there probably won't be a huge difference. Even less if they have already done this for you once or twice.

5 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Has the Time Passed For Coding Website from Scratch?

fyngyrz DON'T Save to PDF (300 comments)

Make your websites a PDF file.

What you're doing here is making sure that a whole raft of smaller/older devices won't be able to display your pages. Which is exactly the same thing as intentionally reducing the customer base of your client.

You want PDF printables? Put a link to a static PDF version on any HTML web page the user might actually WANT in PDF form. HTML pages should be in either HTML, HTML+CSS, HTML+CGI, or HTML+CSS+CGI. HTML and HTML+CGI produce the best quality -- most usable -- pages. Use of *any* other technology cuts off some number of smaller and/or older clients at the knees, but of those technologies, pure front-facing PDF would be difficult to beat for complete failure of a website to show up for the person trying to look at it.

5 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Has the Time Passed For Coding Website from Scratch?

fyngyrz Re:About 7-8 years ago? (300 comments)

If you think an indication of when someone joined slashdot (/. UID) gives you a reliable insight into how old they are, or how long they've been doing technical work, or what technical work they can do, you are one thoroughly deluded human being.

5 days ago
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The Paradoxes That Threaten To Tear Modern Cosmology Apart

fyngyrz Re:Seems... facile (230 comments)

Nah, I just bought one from Dyson. Works great!

about a week ago
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The Paradoxes That Threaten To Tear Modern Cosmology Apart

fyngyrz Re:Seems... facile (230 comments)

The energy of the vacuum HERE would be decreasing over time,

You can't assume that everything everywhere behaves the same. You can't assume that energy drawn from one location will show up as a deficit in another (you find running water in the street's gutter... you learn Joe's pool is draining. Assuming Mark's pool is also draining doesn't follow.) You can't measure anywhere but (very) locally, which also means you can only measure data very near temporally -- and so you really have no bloody idea what is going on without resting your conclusion on assumptions made entirely free of supporting data.

What you're claiming is equivalent to saying you know exactly what's going on on a planet orbiting some star in Andromeda because you've done some observations as to what is going on here. Evidence is utterly insufficient to your claim.

about a week ago
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The Paradoxes That Threaten To Tear Modern Cosmology Apart

fyngyrz YIC (230 comments)

It might be simulated turtles all the way down.

It's virtual turtles, you insensitive clod!

about a week ago
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The Paradoxes That Threaten To Tear Modern Cosmology Apart

fyngyrz Re:I don't get it (230 comments)

Because empty space is full of particles

No, see, by definition, that's non-empty space. Empty space is... empty.

about a week ago

Submissions

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If you're connected, Apple collects your data. No matter what.

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  about 3 months ago

fyngyrz (762201) writes "It would seem that no matter how you configure Yosemite, Apple is listening. Keeping in mind that this is only what's been discovered so far, and given what's known to be going on, it's not unthinkable that more is as well. Should users just sit back and accept this as the new normal? It will be interesting to see if these discoveries result in an outcry, or not."
Link to Original Source
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RRAM poses challenge to FLASH memory market

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  about a year and a half ago

fyngyrz (762201) writes "RRAM, a long-awaited alternative to other memory technologies that can retain data while powered down, has finally reached manufacturing. With higher data density, 3D stacking on chip (not chip-on-chip, but layer-on layer), lower power, more longevity, RRAM seems poised to drive electronic storage considerably forward. If initial designs use the current interfaces, we could see some immediate performance gains (RRAM is quite a bit faster than flash) as well as increased data capacities. Of course, no one needs more than... oh, never mind."
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Samsung releases source code for NX300 and NX2000 mirrorless cameras

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  about a year ago

fyngyrz (762201) writes "There are already powerful third-party software mods for cameras such as magic lantern, but as far as I know, they're all reverse-engineering efforts, and have been somewhat hamstrung because of that. Samsung, in offering the source code to these two cameras, may have tapped a golden vein. I'm a Canon user, but upon learning this, I immediately began to consider Samsung as a 2nd camera."
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Twitter sells two years of user data, tweets

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 2 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Thought those tweets had settled back into anonymity, or that they weren't being kept for long? Ooops. Turns out that Twitter has sold a huge database of several years tweets to a marketing company, which in turn has quite a list of customers ready to data-mine the trove of remarks about, well, everything."
Link to Original Source
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FAA Bill Authorizes Surveillance Drones over US

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 2 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Congress passed a bill this week that makes it easier for the government to fly unmanned spy planes in U.S. airspace. One wonders if those gentle souls who find it so entertaining to shoot road signs will enjoy this intriguing new opportunity."
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Time Travel in our lifetimes?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 3 years ago

fyngyrz writes "If space travel is the final frontier, then what is time travel?

Einstein showed that mass and energy are the same thing. The time machine we’ve designed uses light in the form of circulating lasers to warp or loop time.

In Einstein’s theory it turns out that not only matter such as the Earth can create gravity but also light. It is the energy of light that creates gravity. Consequently, since time is affected by gravity and light can create gravity due to its energy then light can also affect time."

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Legal Tender? Maybe not.

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 3 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Lousiana has passed a bill that says people may no longer use cash for second hand transactions. The idea being to make all transactions traceable, thus foiling copper theft, etc. This move has profound implications that range from constitutional rights to bitcoin, Craigslist and so forth; I wonder if there are any slashdotters at all that support such a move."
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Costdom of Speech

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 4 years ago

fyngyrz (762201) writes "Philadelphia decides that bloggers must pay $300 for a "license." Again, government, this time at a city level, interprets "shall make no law" as "hey, boys, let's make a law!" The first — and the fourteenth — amendment specifically say this is not allowable government behavior."
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In THIS house... FTL fields and currents. Really!

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 4 years ago

fyngyrz (762201) writes "So you think of electrons like dominoes in a wire. Push on the one in the end, the others react one after another. Pretty vanilla physics. Further, because the electrons are moving, you get magnetic effects, radio, etc. Good stuff. So. What if you move all the "dominos" at once? Put your virtual hand on all of them, and push them over. They're not moving sequentially any longer. They move together. At any speed you can make them go. Well, that's what these researchers are doing — "pushing" all along a conductor at once, able to make a signal go — ready? — FTL. Fascinating stuff. And it may explain pulsars."
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Copyright sure... but what about "feel"?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

fyngyrz writes "After securing copyright permission to use the Romantic's song "What I Like About You", the publisher of the game "Guitar Hero" is being sued by the band because "the company has infringed the group's right to its own image and likeness" because the cover song is so similar to the original version.

They're seeking an injunction against the game, which could do some real sales damage during the holiday season if granted.

Now, speaking as a musician, I'm right with the program when people say copyright is flawed, but... has this band fallen off the edge here?"

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Climate change science; taking a closer look.

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Climate change, global warming. Done deal, right? Not so fast:

A study has been submitted for publication in the journal Energy and Environment which actually looks at the level of support in the scientific community. From the results: "Of 528 total papers on climate change, only 38 (7%) gave an explicit endorsement of the consensus. If one considers "implicit" endorsement (accepting the consensus without explicit statement), the figure rises to 45%. However, while only 32 papers (6%) reject the consensus outright, the largest category (48%) are neutral papers, refusing to either accept or reject the hypothesis." It is very interesting to see how neutral (and properly so!) the scientific community actually remains when it comes to anthropocentric global warming.

Are we seeing the pendulum swing back to a rational position?"

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fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

fyngyrz writes "As always, there are rumbles of discontent from the scientific community with regard to global warming. This article from R. Timothy Patterson, professor and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University, lays the overriding mechanism of climate change squarely at the feet of the various solar cycles. In the article, he explains that solar energy impacting the earth is part of the mechanism, while the sun's solar wind drives cloud formation in a complementary cycle that enhances the effect of the actual heat input. But that's not the kicker. The interesting part is he is predicting global cooling, rather than warming."
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fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

fyngyrz writes "Looks like Mars is warming just as fast as we are. Unfortunately, it's a little more difficult to whip the public into a frenzy of guilt over emissions when even the most daft rank and file citizen will figure out that our CO2 excess doesn't make it to Mars under any circumstances, and so the discovery doesn't bode well for the CO2 alarmists.

Looks like we might be back to terrorists, panicking over each others morals, and legislating personal choices for the entertainment of the day."

Journals

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Why no recent journal entries?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Because I have a blog at http://fyngyrz.com/.

It kind of makes the whole journal thing redundant. If you really want to see what I have to say about random things, by all means, you're invited to the blog. If not, well, it seems you're in substantial company, if nothing else. :)

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One of those poignant losses

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

18th October, 2007, we lost a dear old friend, a (mostly) Siamese cat yclept "Gwai-loh." Gwai was quite vocal, as are many Siamese; he also had some strange characteristics, for instance you could hold him upside-down on the ceiling and he would walk around - inverted - for as long as you were willing to hold him up there. For years, we kept him around the office, and he had a habit of coming up for affection when whoever he was approaching was on the phone. So he'd come up to you, get right up to your face (and the phone) and let loose with a really loud meow. Which you would then have to explain to the customer. One time I was on the phone with a rather famous Hollywood special effects dude when Gwai let loose with this, we had a good laugh over it. Eventually, we put up a web page on our site with a .wav of Gwai's signature meow, and a picture of him staring at a screensaver on a ginormous (for the time) monitor. A surprising amount of the code in WinImages was written with Gwai warm and settled either in my lap or across my arms.

Well, eventually, the old boy's liver failed, and I put out a rather startling amount of money to see if we could get around that, and amazingly enough, it worked. We got two more years of Gwai, all of it of quite high quality, before he finally laid down for the last time. His last couple of days were spent purring and head bumping while all the while refusing to eat or drink... finally, he just didn't wake up.

I miss him terribly. Sometimes it hits me right between the eyes and I can't even think straight. I can't dig over a decade and a half of unconditional love and affection out of my system with any amount of rationalization or any other flavor of self-bullshittery. Here's to my grizzled old friend. I only hope he knew how much I loved him in return.

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Mouseovers - as bad as popups?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Is anyone else as annoyed as I am by words and phrases in web articles that pop up boxes because my mouse pointer happened to cross them, temporarily hiding the content I was reading in the first place? I didn't click on anything, and consequently, I don't want a context change. I find these annoying to the point of noting what the site is and not going back. Anyone else feel the same? Anyone have a defense of the practice?

I went to this article today to read it in response to a slashdot posting, and managed to accidentally activate the wireless mouseover / popup as I was reading. Bam. Content hidden, thought stream interrupted. Isn't this essentially popups, revisited?

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Cold War, Version II

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

So I wake up this morning, and Putin has dissolved his government.

Then, same morning, Russia announces a bomb with nuclear-level destructive capability. But they say they're not escalating.

Then, later the same day, the US announces they have a matter-antimatter (proton/positron) annihilation laser, which, they say, is to normal lasers as nuclear weapons are to normal bombs.

At the same time, Bush, old "We'll never pull 'em out", is about to announce a troop pullback in Iraq.

Oil's hovering around $80 a barrel. The dollar is in the outhouse, and we've basically had many of our civil rights eliminated or made irrelevant.

Did I miss something here?

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More on Global Temperature Change

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

As always, there are rumbles of discontent from the scientific community with regard to global warming. This article (vile email registration required) from R. Timothy Patterson, professor and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University, lays the overriding mechanism of climate change squarely at the feet of the various solar cycles. In the article, he explains that solar energy impacting the earth is part of the mechanism, while the sun's solar wind drives cloud formation in a complementary cycle that enhances the effect of the actual heat input. But that's not the kicker. The interesting part is he is predicting global cooling, rather than warming.

But wait; there's more. This months Discover Magazine (print version also) has a lengthy article about this same mechanism, that is, cloud formation driving the climate and the sun driving cloud formation by way of modulating the effect cosmic rays have, by Henrik Svensmark, the 49-year-old director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen.

Svensmark says that we are in a warming trend, so his conclusions are at odds with those of Patterson; but they both agree that CO2 isn't nearly the looming threat that it has been made out to be with regard to climate change.

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Montana surprises us again, this time on Eminent Domain

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Recently, Montana legislators made news when they passed legislation outlawing Real-ID, calling it a threat to privacy and liberty. Now, legislation making the taking of property by eminent domain for the purposes of increasing tax revenues illegal has been passed and signed into law by Montana's governor. For more on why this is a serious issue, check out the Supreme Court's "Kelo" decision, named after a Connecticut woman who (unsuccessfully) fought to keep her home from city plans to arbitrarily take it and subsequently turn it over to private developers with the objective of collecting higher tax revenues from the property.

Montana has a 2% unemployment rate at present, and maintains a balanced budget, something the feds might want to give some consideration to. I have to say that although I am typically very cynical about government, and although Montana has made some very serious mis-steps in terms of liberties in the last few decades, the state seems more interested in doing the right thing than the wrong thing at this point in time, and I am feeling very pleased with my representatives right now as a long-time resident.

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Has Apple made a costly miss-step?

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 7 years ago

With the recent news about cellphone activity allegedly being the underlying cause for the sudden loss of large numbers of bees, an insect that forges an absolutely critical and irreplaceable part of the food chain, is Apple's iPhone doomed to enter the market just as cell phones face severe clampdowns, or even wholesale replacement?

Cell phones operate at microwave frequencies for a pretty good reason; basically, microwaves enable small equipment. They also do a decent job of penetrating many types of structures, if not through the walls, then at least through the windows. However, there are other frequencies available, lower frequencies that have been busy for many decades without any significant observed effect on bees or other life. People already understand how useful cell phones are, and there are manufacturers with significant experience in VHF radio, to name one technically possible replacement band — so an interesting market shake-up is certainly feasible. Excellent VHF transceivers are marketed by amateur radio manufacturers, for example.

Normally, we would assume that an established, profitable market similar to the cellphone market would be stable and have a long, healthy life expectancy based on the functionality offered to the market. However, if the bees go, we will too - and that, ladies and gentleman, is an outcome that not even Steve Job's legendary reality distortion field can deal with.

Perhaps Apple should get back to working on OSX, and forget the iPhone. I have this nagging feeling that the iPhone is going to be this year's "politically incorrect" device. I know I've stopped using my cellphone for anything but emergency calls; how about you? Seen any bees lately?

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My Mac finally crashed.

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  about 8 years ago

I bought my daily-driver Mac, a mini, pretty much when the PowerPC mini was released. I was tempted beyond belief by that form factor, and the price. I loaded it; a gig of ram, bluetooth, wifi, modem, big drive (for the day), the superdrive, and so forth. I bought every option because the more that was jammed into the box, the more I liked the form factor. I know it's a little weird, but there you have it.

Since then, I've used the little box daily, for just about everything. It's been powered up since I bought it (thanks to a UPS.) This year, a couple of months ago, I bought a Mac laptop - a top of the line 17" Mac Pro - but I still use the mini every day. I've rebooted the mini many times, almost always in response to an Apple upgrade or security modification, once when I went from 10.3 to 10.4, never as an attempt to fix a problem. I've never had any problems of that kind, frankly.

Today, without any particular warning, my Mac dimmed the screen, locked my mouse and keyboard, popped a black rectangle up which informed me in no uncertain terms that I needed to reboot. Now. I lost a long post I had been writing for Kuro5hin.org, and I failed to even reach the level of being annoyed about that because it was just so astonishing to me that the mini had actually - gulp - crashed.

I just want to say that I hadn't even realized that my expectations had been silently and sneakily leveraged to be so astonishingly high. After years of being screwed with, and over, by Microsoft operating systems, I no longer expect that an OS should, or will, crash. Massive kudos to Apple.

...and my little PPC mini came right back up, and yes, I'm using it right now, and I still don't expect it to crash. :) I was using a beta version of a web browser and my guess is it was just a little too beta.

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Best slashdot comment ever encountered

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 9 years ago Best slashdot comment, ever:

Russia's Biggest Spammer Brutally Murdered

Posted by timothy on Monday July 25, @11:48AM
from the but-what's-the-motive-detective-columbo? dept.
Karellen !-P writes "Vardan Kushnir, a notorious russian spammer who headed the English learning centers, the Center for American English, the New York English Centre and the Centre for Spoken English, was found dead in his Moscow apartment on Sunday, Interfax reported Monday. He died after suffering repeated blows to the head."
----------------------------------------
Should have opted out. (Score:5, Funny)
by Tackhead (54550) on Monday July 25, @11:54AM
(#13157866)
> He died after suffering repeated blows to the head.
From a hidden microphone at the scene of the murder:

"You are receiving *WHAM* this blow to the head *WHAM* because you are part of a *WHAM* specially-selected list of *WHAM* people who agreed to receive *WHAM* blows to the head *WHAM*.

To stop *WHAM* receiving these *WHAM* blows to the head, please *WHAM* email us at no-more-please@optout.blowtothehead. com and *WHAM* we will remove you from our list of *WHAM* blow-to-the-head-club members *WHAM* (heh, we said "club"!) *WHAM* within 24 to 48 hours.

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Slashdot needs some fixes

fyngyrz fyngyrz writes  |  more than 10 years ago Slashdot is fun and useful and all, but there are some pretty annoying problems with the site. They constantly come up in an "off topic" manner, and consequently get (sort-of) appropriately modded down - this journal submission is intended to give them a legitimate home. I submitted it as a story, but - of course - it was rejected.

These are the things that seem most obvious to me, but I am sure there are others, given how annoying the issues I have in mind are to me. Please feel free to add your thoughts to all this, shoot my ideas down, whatever.

Moderation is anonymous

I say this is a Very Bad Thing. You can compare this to Kuro5hin, where you can easily see who did what to whom. Moderation with accountability allows anyone to see when a vendetta is being pursued, or when someone is systematically modding a subject down because they disagree, rather than because the issue is actually off-topic, a flame and so forth. I cannot begin to count the number of comments I have seen that have been modded down because they were contraversial, as opposed to offtopic, flamebait, or whatever else the down-mod claimed they were. The site's editors are also anonymous and that provides a hidden power structure which isn't a particularly good thing in any venue. I have read multiple claims that this poster or that poster cannot get mod points "because they modded something [a slashdot luminary] posted some time ago." If this is an illusion, exposing who did what to whom will in turn expose the illusion. If it is not an illusion, then exposing what happened should reduce the problem, because such action would rightfully be condemned by readers if it is inappropriate. I find the idea that the site's editors might be sneaking around and quietly muzzling moderators in a punitive manner more than a little disturbing.

So my first suggestion here is simply to lose moderation anonymity. My second is that if and when mod capability is removed from a user, the date of, and reason for, that action be posted right in their user page.

Many - perhaps even most - down mods are punitive or inappropriate

I suggest that the meta-moderation process be adjusted to include the ability to flag down-mods as obviously inappropriate, and to remove moderation privileges from those who commit such down-mods, as well as the down-mods themselves.

Up-mods don't need metamoderation

I suggest the outright removal of metamoderation of up-mods; if someone considers something interesting (or whatever) positive characteristic, who are we to say that this isn't so? That's the moderator's take on the comment, and up-moderation is a (very limited) opportunity for a moderator to "uplift" the story to the rest of us based on that perception. Upmods aren't harmful the way down-mods are - quite the contrary - and it seems to me to be a complete waste of time to metamoderate upmods for that very reason.

With mod points so scarce (and I agree they should be) we are forced to pick the things we really appreciate to up-mod. I rarely see an honest need to down-mod (obvious "first post" and gay/nigger trolls excepted), but I simply do not see a need to counter an up-mod. Someone thinks this, that or the other thing is insightful or interesting or sexy or whatever? Ok, that's at least notable - and that is exactly what an up-moderated and hence higher point comment does, it becomes more notable - not more interesting, not more insightful, but more notable. It might not actually seem that the applied moderation is accurate to us on reading the modded comment, but it is interesting that so-and-so (or at least "someone", if moderator anonymity remains preserved) thought it was worthy of a mod point. Comments can argue the issue if a poster is so motivated, and that seems like plenty of recourse to me. We see this all the time anyway; why not simply make it the official means of argument with an upmod?

Metamoderation is a scarce resource - put it where it does the most good

The removal of up-mod metamoderation could allow multiple meta-moderation of down-mods so that a reasonable, multi-user consensus that a down-mod is innapropriate can be reached. It seems to me that it should not be a light thing to say that someone is abusing the moderation system; you want to be reasonably certain. A meta objection to a down mod should cause that down-mod to immediately rear its ugly little head in a bunch of other meta-moderation queues so that consensus can be reached - and then corrective action taken if the mod is widely deemed inappropriate. This last point is important: It is a real shame that reasonable posts are permanently lost to the default view because some moderator was being a twit.

Fix the comment point system

There are several things wrong with this area of the site. The first is simply exposure, like authorship of moderation. Anyone who looks at the summary of points in a profile and tries to figure out what happened to a heavily moderated comment in a story is doomed to failure. It's Byzantine at best, and opaque and threatening at worst. Expose it.

Next, The math behind up/down mods is bizarre, to say the least. At a minimum, fix it so it is linear; or if not, then at least expose each and every mod point and show what it did to the story (along with the inflicting member - again, see Kuro5hin for a nice example of how this should be done.) Of course, if only this is done, an outcry will probably arise to fix the math, for the obvious reasons. :)

Expand the moderation choices

I have also seen lots of very good suggestions for additional moderation reasons. I'd like to see the readership discuss that here and perhaps a poll be subsequently created to see which new moderations should actually be added.

Story submission is entirely in italics

How is one expected to visually check the HTML of a story if the story preview enforces italics for the entire body? Why not use dark blue on white, and let italics flow according to the story tags so we can actually see what we're writing? You know, that radical new concept, "WYSIWYG"?

Sign the Polls

Stories are signed so we know who to thank (or blame) for the story. Sign the polls too. As I write this, there is a poll up for "favorite writing instrument" and the poll fails to include "keyboard" as an option. Somebody should have some digital egg on their face for that one. Maybe accountability will result in better quality polls. One can hope, anyway!

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