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* Posts by Big John

165 posts • joined 28 Oct 2009

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Fear a terrifying killer robot revolution? GET A GRIP: Boffins invent cyborg hand for humans

Big John
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Some implications...

Rude hand gestures will get very creative...

The need to compose keyboard music for 2.8 hands...

Going to the bathroom could get interesting...

Ditto for hand jobs...

Nose-picking etiquette will have to be debated...

No more excuses for weak guitar chords...

Which of her fingers do I put the ring on again?

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Microsoft's anti-bug breakthrough: Wire devs to BRAIN SCANNERS

Big John
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Paris Hilton

Not enough data

If MS is going to go 'white-rat' on these poor coders, why not include a plethysmograph too? Then they can tell when unauthorized pr0n is being viewed...

Paris, because.. just because.

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LOHAN seeks stirring motto for spaceplane mission patch

Big John
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In reference to mascot...

"Lutum In Caelo"

Scavenger of the Skies

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Lyft hits the brakes: Ban threat stalls taxi app's New York City launch

Big John
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Excess cabs, really?

"BTW, the city limits the number of medallions for mainly practical reasons: the streets of New York, especially Manhattan where the cabs are mainly used, are crowded enough as is; no need to pack them further with an excess of cabs."

That is not quite true.

These medallions started in the thirties, and altho the cities have grown a lot, the cab companies fight to keep the number of medallions from increasing proportionally so their profits per car stay at the max. It has nothing to do with crowding, in fact crowding would be lessened by having more taxis, keeping more people from having to drive their own car.

http://blog.priceonomics.com/post/47636506327/the-tyranny-of-the-taxi-medallions

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Big John
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Windows

Re: ".....its driver has not been subject to the TLC’s required drug and background checks,"

"I'm more concerned my driver may not be a psychotic crackhead, and I'll miss out on an essential part of the New York experience.."

That can happen with Lyft too!

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Read the proposed US ASTEROIDS Act to green-light mining IN SPAAAACE

Big John
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""you'd have to intercept, board, probably overcome-if-not-kill the crew, make off with the booty."

Very unlikely. Most space mining that returned metals to Earth would be bulk metals like iron. Gold and other rare metals would be very minor, because for asteroids the processes that concentrate rare metals (gravity, weathering, bio) are absent.

Rather, picture a stream of metal chunks or something similar, routinely aero-braking and dropping onto a bare patch of desert. Not much booty to be had there, but plenty of room for government to step in and do what they do best, namely screw things up.

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Plucky Rockall adventurer prepares to leave islet

Big John
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Re: Brit adventurer?

"You can tie things down as much as you like but if the elements want to rip it away there's very little to stop it."

Okay, but in this case the straps were fine. However he allowed a weak link in the connection between the barrels and their handles, which was the failure point. Easy to point out after the fact, I know. Still, had he strapped up the barrels themselves, rather than just the handles, he might have retained that food.

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World Meteorological Organization says climate data is uncool

Big John
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Re: Pedantry misses the point

that article you linked to suggests that 99% of ocean plastic may be being eaten by fish. did you read it?.. or are you saying thats a good thing?..

I did read it, and all they know is that the plastic they were assuming was there is not there. Every other claim they 'suggest' turns out to be totally unsupported by facts, which they finally admit. You were saying?

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Big John
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Re: Pedantry misses the point

"So, what about all the... heavy metals in the ocean? depletion of nutrients in the soil? drilling? fracking? destruction of rain forests and habitats? species? cancerous levels of smog in asia? poisonous rivers in india? huge plastic rubbish island floating in the ocean? etc, etc..."

One at a time.

"heavy metals in the ocean" - Um, yeah. whatever you say.

"depletion of nutrients in the soil" - Granted, in places, but that's just farmland, a tiny fraction of the biosphere, and rather temporary in the big picture.

"drilling" - So?

"fracking" - You say that like it's a bad thing.

"destruction of rain forests and habitats" - Okay, but stuff has always happened to habitats. Life adapts. Besides, all that new CO2 is engendering lots of green growth worldwide! Aren't you happy?

"species" - Ah, lots of niche species going extinct, the horror. Like there's a dearth of competition for those niches? Get real.

"cancerous levels of smog in asia" - Oh noes!! Whatever will we do! Those poor helpless Asians need OUR help! Um, no. They will solve the smog issue the same way we did, or die trying.

"poisonous rivers in india" - Well no wonder, with all those dead bodies and *ugh* floating down to the sea. Again, they will deal.

"huge plastic rubbish island floating in the ocean" - Turns out that's way overblown:

http://news.sciencemag.org/environment/2014/06/ninety-nine-percent-oceans-plastic-missing

Aaah. The two minute panic is at an end. Nice, but wouldn't want it to go on all day...

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Big John
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The proposal won't junk 1961-1990 data, which the WMO advocates retaining “as the base period for monitoring and assessing long-term climate variability and change … over the course of this century and beyond.”

So they intend to enshrine a random 30 year period of Earth's 4,500 million year existence as the "base period" for all ongoing climate studies? I guess this means the climate finally got off the couch only in 1961? Who knew?

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Cosmic dust riddle BREAKTHROUGH: Study tackles stuff of the universe

Big John
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Re: What is the 'shockwave' made of?

"During the actual core collapse massive numbers of neutrinos are generated; these are not adsorbed..."

According to the main theory they sometimes are, and are responsible for the bulk of the visible explosion:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernova#Core_collapse

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What the world needs now is... a Bluetooth-enabled baby's dummy

Big John
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Re: Throw down

Kirsten, it was sarcasm. I actually think the whole monitor idea panders to the sick "helicopter mom" pathology. Should have used the /s I guess.

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Big John
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Re: Also perfect for the offfice environment

Buddy, if your boss needs a pacifier, you need a new job!

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Big John
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Throw down

"The device also has a “leash” feature. Using the app, it can be set to sound an alarm if the Pacifi gets beyond a configurable distance, typically because the child has thrown the Pacifi out of its pram."

I don't get it. If the idea is to monitor the little germ factory's vitals, just strap it on! Guaranteed not to lose contact.

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That 'wiped' Android phone you bought is stuffed with NAKED SELFIES – possibly

Big John
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Re: Happened to me twice.

"As for scrubbing phones : can anyone suggest the best way of doing it then??"

With extreme prejudice, AKA a 50 cal round or two thru the old touch screen. Works every time!

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Boeing to start work on most powerful rocket ... EVER!

Big John
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Solid as a rock

Main SLS site:

http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/sls/

Pretty rocket art:

http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/sls/multimedia/gallery/SLS_Concepts.html

Not so sure the solids idea is that bad if it reduces the cost per launch. Okay, they can't be shut off, but they can be jettisoned pretty quick if needed, and they won't hit anything while they run free. And the lack of moving parts is a big reliability factor.

The main stack looks fairly orthodox, should get the job done. Hope Boeing doesn't screw it up...

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LONGER flights burning MORE fuel can CUT planes' climate impact

Big John
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Alien

Seriously?

"...if aircraft were to generate fewer contrails, a tiny bit of steam would be taken out of “chemtrail” conspiracies."

This statement has GOT to be tongue in cheek. NOTHING of the sort would occur! Fewer 'chemtrails' would be interpreted in some new and twisted way, probably only driving things further along. We aren't discussing the open-minded, after all. Get real, Richard.

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Splash! Three times as much water as ALL of Earth's oceans found TRAPPED underground

Big John
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Re: Re Christoph: Equilibrium?

Actually there was a near-global flood, sea level rise at the end of the last ice age:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sundaland

It wasn't fast but it probably adversely affected a large fraction of humanity at the time.

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Big John
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Mushroom

Equilibrium?

The question is, what's happening to that water? Is the Ocean leaking into it slowly, or is it giving up water to the surface? Or, if it's in balance, then where is the implied cyclic transport system? A good guess is the subducting oceanic plates vs volcanism, but volcanoes mostly appear as arcs near subducting oceanic plates, implying a short trip for the water.

I wonder if this water layer could have to do with those 'hot spots' like Hawaii and Yellowstone? Maybe the base water layer isn't enough to produce rising magma normally, but if something gets a plume going then it might draw in water from the surround and be self-sustaining. If so, then the water layer might be "useless" but it's hardly unimportant!

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Poison PDF pusher released to public

Big John
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Happy

"SecRecon freelance security bod Claes Spett developed the tool while building a private exploit kit to help him pop organisations during penetration tests."

Is it just my dirty mind, or is that sentence rather suggestive?

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Wedding tackle started out as PROTO-SHARKS' LEGS, boffins say

Big John
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Thumb Up

Bony fish

Since they say the line died out, I assume this is an example of parallel evolution, so to speak.

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Ukrainian teen created in lab passes Turing Test – famous nutty prof

Big John
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Re: How long before...

I suspect that has already occurred. As for telling the bots from the trolls, what's the point?

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Strategy Boutique ultimate 'tech'-gasm: 3D printer drone GoPro vid stream QR code

Big John
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Relativistic Bus

From the video:

"It's like, if you're on a bus moving at the speed of light, then, you have to be, like, ahead of the bus now. You're like, waiting to catch the bus."

But if the bus driver turned on the headlights, would anything happen?

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SCIENCE explains why you LOVE the smell of BACON

Big John
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Yank my chain

"Our Yank staff prefer the crisp and fatty American rendition, while the Brits maintain that their leaner, more chewy bacon is tops."

Talk about making a silk purse out of a sow's ear! "Chewy bacon" indeed. And how did it get that way? Does this mean American pigs eat better? What are the Brit pigs eating, kale? Is it just a straight-out calorie thing? Maybe a few shiploads of good old Iowa Corn are in order.

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US citizens want stricter CO2 regulations by two to one – Yale poll

Big John
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Re: Yale Poll=Tainted Goods

"Do you think that a poll by Yale means a poll of Yale students and staff?"

No, what it means is a poll, taken somewhere of their choosing (they don't say where), that is heavily weighted towards Democrats as usual (454 vs 354), and with biased question/s.

Further, a quick look at their polling site reveals massive bias toward the AGW theory.

http://environment.yale.edu/climate-communication/article/americans-support-limits-on-co2/

From the first paragraph: "Each year in the United States about 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions – the primary cause of global warming...", which is situated alongside a scary photo of cloudy emissions from smokestacks.

A modern coal plant produces very little pollution other than CO2 and H2O, but hey, all that water vapor forming sinister clouds from the stacks sure LOOKS scary! Particularly in black and white, as this one is.

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Big John
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Headmaster

Re: This one is predictable

Got plans to ram thru cap n' trade controls and taxes without benefit of congressional approval? Don't forget to call your local ultra-liberal ivy league college for some timely push-polling!

We all know how that game is played.

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Still watching DVDs? You're a PLANET-KILLING CARBON HOG!

Big John
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Re: This adds in my driving to the shop to buy the disc?

It smells worse yet. They seem to have included the energy costs of a 'van' to deliver rental disks, but generally that van is the postal service, which would be coming around regardless.

I wonder how many more dodgy 'factors' they felt justified to include?

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Poll: Climate change now more divisive than abortion, gun control

Big John
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Re: *sigh*

Setting aside the question of who is wrong, I dispute the term 'debate' used in this context.

A debate needs two sides that are advancing arguments towards their position. What we actually have is one side doing that, and the other side declaring preemptive victory, that the "debate is over," backed up by the politicians and the press, plus of course certain 'scientists,' many of whom have been exposed as liars and cheats.

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Oracle shoves aside NoSQL upstarts with smart 'Fabric' tech

Big John
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Confusing

I need advice. I've just begun really learning databases and decided to concentrate on NoSQL, since I already know JS pretty well, and NoSQL appears to be the wave of the future. But is this correct? If I devote hundreds of hours into NoSQL will I regret it, given what is now happening in SQL?

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Robotics evangelist: 'Personal robots' should be invisible beings

Big John
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19 years late

"By the year 2020," she said, "your household robot will be your house."

"Open the front door, House."

"I'm afraid I can't do that, Dave..."

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California gives green light to test self-driving cars on public roads

Big John
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Tech is the easy part

The whole of transportation liability for cars is based on the driver, except for cases of product failure. Now enter the driverless car. Absent actual product failure, what happens when things don't work out the way the car planned?

That liability must be attached to some person or legal entity. If it's the passenger in the 'hotseat,' will they still be willing to entrust their legal future (and their actual future!) to the machine?

If it's the car maker, how will they protect themselves financially? Try to imagine the deep-pockets lawsuits that would result. Will they pull strings, changing laws to limit their exposure? Will the public stand for that?

If these cars are to be legalized, will the public even have any input, or will we be kept out of the debate, since such a "good thing" ought not be lost due to baseless "fear of the machines?"

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No such luck: Apple, Samsung say peace talks are off – way off

Big John
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WTF?

Legalese

"Samsung's refusal even to agree that it will not argue that Apple's participation in the ADR process can be used in future injunction or royalty proceedings makes clear that Samsung has no interest in entering into a meaningful ADR procedure or ceasing use of Apple's intellectual property," Cupertino's statement to the court reads.

Would someone mind explaining just what that statement means? Near as I can tell, Apple thinks that agreeing to negotiate will somehow weaken their position in future litigation, and they want Samsung to agree in advance not to take advantage of said weakness, whatever that might be.

Huh?

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Bitcoin blockchain allegedly infected by ancient 'Stoned' virus

Big John
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Re: the whole message

So this virus (presumably written by pot smokers) infected a machine which then stopped working, without even 'taking care of business' first. Why am I not surprised?

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Real, hovering SPEEDER BIKE can be YOURS for cheaper than a house

Big John
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Blades of Death

How many people will want to sit almost directly over two whirling macerators that are trying to suck you in?

Better not have ANY loose objects frequented about your person, and stay far away from swarms of bees, birds, overhead branches, banners and flags, confetti...

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Nintendo says sorry, but there will be NO gay marriage in Tomodachi Life ... EVER

Big John
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Re: Who?

Says Anonymous Coward:

"So, no, nothing wrong in my assertion, just your ability to understand the difference between a single thing working in solo and groups of things working in tandem."

You must be aware that "gay gene" has always has been a catchall term for whatever might cause (or not cause) sexual orientation, so your attempt to cast me as ignorant of this fact I find laughable, not to mention pathetic.

But if you really did think that "gay gene" meant just one gene specifically, then I apologize for my earlier remark. Given such ignorance, your original remarks make perfect sense and I should not have taken the tone I did.

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Big John
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Pirate

"..arseraiders 5.."

I'm trying to imagine such a game...

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Big John
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Re: Who?

Says Anonymous Coward:

"I'm sure there isn't a gay gene, but I am sure that your genetics do make the way your brain is wired to make you attracted to the same sex. Ergo, the comparison to interracial marriages is valid as it is two people, who have no choice about their situation not being able to be married. In that way both are the same."

You seem to be a bit confused about genes 'n stuff. See, "genetics" is a term that refers to genes. Your statement agrees there is no gay gene, then goes on to assert that very thing, and you then assume your weird assertion equals proof and thus justifies your earlier comment.

I would advise you to stay anonymous.

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Big John
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Re: Who?

"How about if it didn't allow interracial marriages?"

Oh oh, I can play that game too!!!

How about if it DID allow bestiality? Plural Marriages? B&D?

In other words, please stay on topic and avoid conflating homosexual behavior with race (whatever that is), okay? It has yet to be proved that there is any "gay gene," and I for one am tired of seeing it assumed that there is one. The day such a gene is shown to exist unequivocally, I will be happy to change my tune.

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Did cosmic radiation nuke $25 satellite swarm? 100 snoozing Sprites face fiery death

Big John
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Re: Ahem...

"What if they just SAID they struck a deal with SpaceX..."

They would STILL have to strike a deal with SpaceX, just not the one we think.

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Yosemite National Park bans drones

Big John
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"Farewell global warming as the ignorants' topic of choice, hello "drones" the privacy panderer / new luddite's latest "Know nothing about it but it sounds totally awful" scare subject."

I'm curious, Anonymous Coward, why you think a degree of some kind is required to grasp the reality of that buzzing, intrusive nuisance floating around over one's head. Should we just defer to 'experts' like you when our weak, ignorant brains wrongly get irritated by some techno-fool's latest toy?

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Big John
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Black Helicopters

Destroy all drones!

I see an emerging need for a special gun. This gun would fire a big soft ball that unfolds into a spinning disk net maybe a meter wide. I need not describe what happens when said net encounters the spinning rotors of a drone...

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Obama: I'm the CTRL-ALT-DEL President

Big John
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Re: Increasingly "The Petulant Clown of White House"

"We recommend that you publicly disavow any wish to incorporate Ukraine into NATO and that you make it clear to Moscow that you are prepared to meet personally with Russian President Vladimir Putin without delay to discuss ways to defuse the crisis and recognize the legitimate interests of the various parties."

It is to laugh. Putin would love to see the Boy Wonder asking for a face-to-face. After careful consideration would come the reply: "Talk to the hand!"

Obama has zero international credibility left, but that fact has yet to penetrate Marblehead, so I suppose we'll get lots more embarrassing talk out of the White House as the situation dissolves into a shooting war.

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Evidence-based Tweets will SAVE the WORLD - and your waistline

Big John
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Trollface

Not bad

The LGF site is so subtle in its satire of activism (particularly climate change) that many of the commenters don't realize this. Thus the entire site is actually a trolling operation. I love it!

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All men are part of a PURE GENETIC ELITE, says geno-science bloke

Big John
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Trollface

Re: Could read it both ways.....

But those genes are also found in a variety of higher mammals (all the ones they tested, anyway). So you could compare Men to most any common mammal you like.

I nominate the squirrel...

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NASA finds first Earth-sized planet in a habitable zone around star

Big John
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The Red Planet

"..the planet is closer to its sun than Earth is to our star, but only receives around a third of the sunlight we do, but that that's more than enough for plant life to thrive."

One 3rd the solar radiation flux that Earth gets, but more important, at a longer average wavelength too. Okay, red dwarfs are most common, but if vegetal life can't get a proper jolt from the weak tea doled out by said stars, what then?

Even if plants can get by on weak red light, just how vigorous could such life be? And I bet the leaves would have to be black to work at all. Talk about a Goth World! I know, I know, I only say that because mine eyes are adapted to a higher spectrum. Surely in infrared such a world could be fabulous. Just don't expect any car chases.

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KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline

Big John
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Re: @Big John Obligatory...

"I notice that they have noodly appendages. There could be room for religious argument here."

I get your drift, but there are problems. First, since these spongoids presumably have no muscles, those "appendages" would be better characterized as tendrils. Second and more important, where are the meatballs?

Third, there are a lot of these creatures, but the Noodly One is said to be unique, if very messy. At least that was my understanding...

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Big John
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Pirate

Obligatory...

I for one, welcome our absorbent marine overlords.

Let us all bow down and pay obeisance to His Most Holey and Unshellfish Majesty, Spongebob the First!

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SpaceX Falcon tests HOVERCRAFT tech – despite ISS outage

Big John
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Re: At last!

"Where are the fins?"

They get burned off when the motor gimbals to the side...

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Forget the beach 'n' boardwalk, check out the Santa Cruz STEVE JOBS FOUNTAIN

Big John
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Re: Re:images of Steve Jobs per square meter

"Not every image of the late Mr. Jobs is actually an icon."

Could we use the measured value of IIJm2 to determine if a location is in fact a religious institution? Perhaps anything below a 5?

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Big John
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Re: Re:images of Steve Jobs per square meter

"Inverse images of Jobs per square metre"

That would be "Inverse icons of Jobs per square metre."

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