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New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels

gestalt_n_pepper In other news, someone discovered arithmetic (211 comments)

Biofuels are nifty, but they will never scale to run an industrial civilization at current levels without creating an ecological disaster.

You didn't actually need a "think-tank" to figure this out. A hand calculator and the ability to use Google would have done just as well.

2 days ago
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Davos 2015: Less Innovation, More Regulation, More Unrest. Run Away!

gestalt_n_pepper Many wealthy will be killed. The funny thing is... (339 comments)

They could, collectively, save themselves in a fairly trivial manner. All they'd have to do is suck it up, let governments tax them, and purchase legislation benefiting the great unwashed (i.e. the 99%) with the same zeal applied to purchasing legislation designed to maximize profits and minimize business risk.

It won't happen, of course. Rich sociopaths are psychologically incapable of seeing themselves as evil, or as the cause of their own problems, and so we have another "French revolution" cycle approaching. It's evolution in action, of course. The problem will be whittled down a bit as wealthy sociopaths are killed en masse and the world gets its parasite load back down to a survivable level, until the cycle happens again.

And it will happen again.

4 days ago
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Omand Warns of "Ethically Worse" Spying If Unbreakable Encryption Is Allowed

gestalt_n_pepper Re:Let em try (392 comments)

Accidents do happen. People come home at odd times. Obviously the agencies are less than flawless. If they start breaking into people's homes, a few will get shot.

So, they'll job out this to criminals, who will hit your house later. No skin off the NSA's nose. This, however, will result in a few less criminals. Not bad.

5 days ago
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Omand Warns of "Ethically Worse" Spying If Unbreakable Encryption Is Allowed

gestalt_n_pepper Oh, they're so *cute* in their fascist arguments (392 comments)

Individual bad actors will always have access to unbreakable surveillance. Even now, there are encryption systems quite capable of foiling any agency.

All this does is make the agency unable to do mass trolling of the citizenry. You only object to that if you assume that the enemy is the citizenry.

5 days ago
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What Will Google Glass 2.0 Need To Actually Succeed?

gestalt_n_pepper Well first, it has to be unnoticeable. (324 comments)

Preferably in black, unstylish eyeglass frames.

I don't want to advertise the fact that I'm wearing this thing. Google geeks may think it's the coolest status symbol ever. I don't. And I don't care. I want to use the map feature, get the weather report.

Yes, I know it can give me automatic Yelp reports, tell me who and what's around, get me dates, show me movies and deliver specs on my computer by looking.

I could care less. I'll use the maps. And the weather. Maybe news, if I'm waiting for a bus. If they want me to buy it, it has to be cheap and boring.

about two weeks ago
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The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees

gestalt_n_pepper Caused by managers who see companies as disposable (263 comments)

Poor managers only manage up, only look at spreadsheets, and only look for short term gains and bonuses before they jump ship to the next company leaving someone else to clean up their mess.

Deferred bonuses for 3 to 5 years would fix this nicely - meaning a manager have to be around in 5 years, and still employed at the same place, to pick up their bonus - better still if paired with an "anti-bonus" if they do poorly. It would also mean that managers would have to live with what they create, and deal with the consequences of firing experienced staff and hiring a bunch of semi-qualified overseas programmers.

I'm pretty sure that would stop the "disposable worker" issue quickly. I'm also sure that it will never happen. It's managers who see companies as "disposable" and who make the policies.

about two weeks ago
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Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

gestalt_n_pepper Get off your high horses. Software is a BUSINESS. (648 comments)

It's NOT an art form. If you're a programming diva and you see, Oh, sob! Bad, sloppy programming practices...!

Blah, blah, blah. We've heard it all before.

Software is about producing something usable for money. You don't expect the bricklayer of your house to be an architect with a doctorate. You don't expect the guys nailing boards together to be either. Similarly, every person who makes money programming something doesn't need to know every aspect of software development down to the level of the circuitry, nor do they need to do it perfectly.

Sometimes you need a skyscraper. Other times, you need a quick shed in the back yard. Usually, you need something in-between.

Can there be problems or maintenance issues? Sure. I need to replace bricks and board every so often too. All structures are imperfect and must be adapted to changing conditions (Rotting wood, rotting OSs, etc.)

What these ivory tower assholes don't want to admit is that software development is a construction business like any other. They want their perfect constructions to exist forever in Platonic Space as perfect contemplative objects...

Get real. I hire the programmers I can afford. We fix it later if needs be. That's the real world, and that's how it will always be.

about two weeks ago
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Astronomers Record Mystery Radio Signals From 5.5 Billion Light Years Away

gestalt_n_pepper Re:Boom. Boom. Boom. Another one bite's the dust.. (121 comments)

Since I'm engaged in humorous speculation, I posit that stable vacuum events are either limited in size and scope or that they travel at less than C, or both.

Speaking of which, does the inside of a black hole qualify as a more stable type of vacuum? Being a fairly ignorant sort, can a physics guy out there enlighten me?

about two weeks ago
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Astronomers Record Mystery Radio Signals From 5.5 Billion Light Years Away

gestalt_n_pepper Boom. Boom. Boom. Another one bite's the dust... (121 comments)

No worries ladies and gents. Just some black hole or star being absorbed into a circle of more stable vacuum than the twitchy sort of vacuum we have over here. Move along. Move along. There's literally nothing to see there.

about two weeks ago
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Windows 10: Can Microsoft Get It Right This Time?

gestalt_n_pepper No. Larger organizations stop being rational. (489 comments)

Look at your own experiences with governments, phone companies, cable companies, banks.

The kind of focused, reasonable analysis needed to produce workable products seems to end when the greatest concerns in the organization are self serving personal behavior and organizational preservation.

Which means that Microsoft is at the mercy of some dimwitted manager who's had a brainwave and somebody's ear. The results are usually disasterous (e.g. Windows 8 interface, Powershell interface instead of VBScript.net, the lack of realistic automated language migration from something like Winforms to ASP, WPF, etc. which could have been avoided with forethought and better design...). Somebody wanted their good review and their bonus. That's all it's about now at Microsoft, or any large organization.

about two weeks ago
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Eric Holder Severely Limits Civil Forfeiture

gestalt_n_pepper This was done so Republicans can criticize it... (316 comments)

And thus be seen for the closet corporate fascists that they are. Holder didn't go far enough, and neither did Obama (He never so much as mentioned it). The practice needs to end nationally, via federal law.

about two weeks ago
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Man Saves Wife's Sight By 3D Printing Her Tumor

gestalt_n_pepper Re:Let's play doctor! (164 comments)

And the reason this happens, is because doctors so often can't come up with a fix (See article). Seriously, we have a medical system that has, after centuries, been unable to cure many cancers, arthritis, obesity, diabetes, etc. I suffered from insomnia for years. The approved drugs were all crap, pretty much. I now rotate a series of herbs with different modes of action, never repeating them for more than one night in a row. Result? No addiction problems and a sound sleep. Tell me how our current medical research system would ever come up with this trivially cheap and effective solution.

Not home doctoring. It's guerrilla medicine. It's not optimal. What is?

about two weeks ago
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Man Saves Wife's Sight By 3D Printing Her Tumor

gestalt_n_pepper Re:Which shows the failure of capitalist medicine (164 comments)

Oddly, I actually agree here. If I had to enforce anything that I though would help, it would be price transparency and published outcomes. That would also reduce the "run them through the mill" problem. Outcomes here can get pretty lousy.

about two weeks ago
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Man Saves Wife's Sight By 3D Printing Her Tumor

gestalt_n_pepper Which shows the failure of capitalist medicine (164 comments)

Doctors make no profit out of difficult diagnoses. They have a business to run. They're a mill. Get 'em in. Get 'em out. If it looks like something even slightly nonstandard, shove them off to another specialist so that they can bear the cost, and liability. That neurologist isn't going to bother to read the journals, or keep up with technology, or make any extra effort at all. He's got 25 other people to see today and he's already running late and there's a hiring meeting in 20 minutes because the single good support employee his practice has is threatening to quit, and there's another meeting with the lawyer this afternoon about the tumors he missed because he was just too rushed that day.

Socialized medicine has its own problems, but at least you can get a doctor focused on medicine.

about two weeks ago
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Cluetrain Authors Offer an Updated Guide To the Web

gestalt_n_pepper Web a conversation? Try BEING POLITE. (24 comments)

1) FIRST RULE: DON'T INTERRUPT ME.
2) SECOND RULE: DON'T PISS ME OFF.

Throw up a dialog box within seconds asking me to join [insert anything here], I just lost interest in anything you had to say, and I'm on to something else. See first rule.

Bounce my web page up, down and around and piss me off because whenever I try to click a link, it moves under my mouse or finger and all I do is get angry. Not very good marketing. See second rule.

Refresh my web page multiple times just... *because,* and once again I can't just click a damn link, then I just get angry again and go elsewhere. See second rule.

4) Clutter your site with ad crappy boxes full of bandwidth sucking animations that my pipe can't support because I'm using my phone as a hotspot and every byte is costing me, and once again, I'm off to something *useful.* See second rule.

5) NEVER, EVER, start playing any sort of sound automatically. I don't need to wake my spouse, child or cat to hear about your ever so special brainwave or product at 1:30 because I can't sleep. See first and second rule.

Look, if a waiter did this stuff to you in a restaurant. If he constantly interrupted, bounced the menu when you were trying to read it, constantly rearranged the dishes, silverware and cutlery while you were eating, or began to sing loudly and randomly while trying to ply you with daily special coupons during the course of your meal, you would *never* come back to that restaurant. It astonishes me every day that web designers think they can do exactly the same thing to your web page. It never seems to occur to them just how angry this behavior makes the end user.

about three weeks ago
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The Search For Starivores, Intelligent Life That Could Eat the Sun

gestalt_n_pepper Probably true, but so what? (300 comments)

If we found out that one was coming next week, exactly what could we do about it?

Nothing. Nichts. Nada. Zilch. Zip. Null data. Bupkus.

A more interesting question is, "Could self replicating life have evolved on a sun, and furthermore, could it have evolved to intelligence?" If so, we could probably detect it by running electromagnetic signals from various starts through a zipf analysis ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z... ). Then we'd at least have a nice little puzzle to figure out before the star eaters get us.

about three weeks ago
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Should We Be Content With Our Paltry Space Program?

gestalt_n_pepper He's right. And NASA is to blame. (287 comments)

If, instead of pure research, NASA had concentrated on near-earth practical applications like ubiquitous free satellite phone/internet, large scale solar power generation, medical habitats and zero g manufacturing, we wouldn't be having this discussion today. Nobody would dispute the value of NASA and space. Moreover, it would be paying for itself by now.

about three weeks ago

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