399 posts • joined 26 Jun 2007
Re: Fact alert!
I believe it's BBC America that actually cuts it up and inserts ads.
Either way, I for one would also welcome a way to watch it just as it appeared in the UK. Maybe even, dare I hope, just after it airs, instead of waiting for some arbitrary period for the news to get stale?
Re: Webcast please?
Same here! Never mind what planet we should be on, I can't even manage to be on the right continent on this one...
Expect the best, prepare for the worst
I really liked this trilogy, even though I haven't been able to enjoy any of Robinson's subsequent books that I've tried. Done properly, it would be a genuine epic. Done badly... eugh.
Economic sense isn't enough
"But as a rough guide, a UK yearly household gas and 'leccy bill is some £1,400. So, if anyone comes along with a piece of kit that works for 10 years and costs, say, £5,000, then people will buy and install it."
Having learned a fair amount of situational psychology, I feel confident asserting that far fewer people than you expect will rush out and buy it. The slow adoption of more-efficient light bulbs may be instructive here.
Thumbs-up anyway because I'm always happy to hear about new advances in cheap energy.
It is obligatory at this point to mention Duane Elms's song "The Terrific Centrifugal Still".
I want The App That Says "Ni".
"Does anyone know if Oregon is at least suing Oracle?"
Nothing's been filed yet, but various officials have been dropping hints that it will.
Re: Go boffins!
Isaac Asimov said it best: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...'"
Proposing a rail link across the Bering Strait gives me two knee-jerk reactions:
1) The person who thinks this would ever actually get built is insane.
2) THAT WOULD BE SO COOL
What it really sounds like
It sounds a lot like their early stages of the English-language version of Alteil, which I enjoyed a great deal. Later on Alteil underwent adjustments that made it basically impossible to play for free.
The deck-building mechanism for the Arena, relying on random cards rather than the ones you've collected, sounds very promising for keeping things balanced for non-paying players. Which is why I'm suspicious that it won't stay that way forever.
Anyway, this sounds like something I'll probably check out regardless.
Speaking of the law...
I've seen a lot of assertions about what should or shouldn't be allowed, but this, the one commentary I've seen referencing actual California employment law, hasn't gotten nearly enough attention:
Re: I think people here are missing the point
"This basically pulls the rug from under the feet of the 'think of the childrenz' game-censoring crusaders, which is a good thing."
Nah, it only says they're choosing the wrong reason for censoring games.
Next up, a usability rating system! Sorry kids, you can't play this one, it's labeled AO for Awful Organization...
Goon Show moment
This makes me think of the Goon Show, with the characters' habit of paying each other in pictures of money.
Re: A company full of gits?
"If there is a genuine claim of sexual harassment and intimidation, then the employee presumably has the avenue of an industrial tribunal, or whatever the US equivalent is [...]"
Do you mean something like this?
There's no US equivalent. If a court gets involved, it has to be through a plain old lawsuit.
Re: Weird dates?
Yes, it's currently Heisei 26.
Re: That's one ugly sculpture!!
Exactly what I was thinking: it's what Bill Gates has always wanted!
Re: Laser beams
Or alien death ray strike, if I remember _The Lathe of Heaven_ correctly...
Re: LOHAN Airfix kit...
That panic button sounds like a useful gadget. May have to get myself one of those.
I'd expect an El-Reg-branded one to take me to the BOFH archive, of course.
T-shirt I'd like
I'd love to have a T-shirt featuring this "geek" comment icon, with size and placement similar to the large logo in the survey. Because people around me could use the warning...
Naming patent trolls
Great article, but I have a nit to pick with: "When I was first involved in this sort of thing, it didn’t have a name."
I recently read a book from 1934* which makes reference to "the special vehicle for exploiting patent monopolies", which seems to be about the same thing as a patent troll. Only briefly, though, apparently expecting the contemporary reader to be fully aware of the issues involved.
The same book also bewails what's now called a patent thicket (they don't seem to have had a specific term for it at the time), mentioning for instance a mechanical loom which had to license 80 different patents.
*Technics and Civilization, by Lewis Mumford
...here's a report that HMRC is blocked:
I'd've thought he'd fit right in in Toronto.
Re: The Goons, really?
Wow. Thanks for the link.
The only way this could have been even cooler is if the TV adaptation of "The Canal" had had the same cast as the radio episode it was based on-- which included guest star Valentine Dyall, the future Black Guardian!
The Goons, really?
Is the massed mainstream media all incorrect in reporting that the program bracketing Who's initial slot along with Grandstand was something called Juke Box Jury?
The idea of Doctor Who scheduled right next to Telegoons is too wonderful for my mind to comprehend.
Re: Why is this a surprise?
"Genes don't record who raped who."
...unless they're in mitochondria or Y chromosomes.
Re: Modern Europeans weren't...
Argh, I mean "...headed EAST for new lands across Beringia...". Muphry's Law [sic] strikes again.
Modern Europeans weren't...
...at the time. Keep in mind that the ancestors of most of today's Indo-European-speaking European inhabitants didn't actually arrive in Europe until at most 3-4000 years ago. What we're talking about here is a population where one part headed west for new lands across Beringia, and another part just kept bouncing around inner Asia for the next several thousand years.
Robots of renown
"No robot in TV history has enjoyed such renown as K-9"
I dunno, if you can remember K-9's heyday then you can also remember KITT, and there were way more people watching Knight Rider back in the day.
K-9 is probably more recognizable to today's young 'uns, though...
Re: Lack of ambition
The episode count was typically 4 episodes in the Tom Baker and later eras, but typically 6 before that.
I do remember watching movie-style edits of some Baker stories, with opening credits only at the beginning, and closing credits only at the end, on my local PBS station-- they'd run individual episodes on weekdays and then the movie versions Friday or Saturday nights. IIRC, when BBC America first came into being, part of their programming was a seemingly random rotation of the movie edits.
The Claws of Axos
Simply because it contains my favorite Delgado bit ever: Having finally schemed his way into capturing the Doctor's TARDIS for his own use, the Master looks over the decrepit equipment and the state of the Doctor's haphazard attempts to get it working again, and finally mutters, "Might as well try flying a secondhand gas stove!"
Indeed, there's no way to reconcile those movies with the series...
OTOH, when I say I like "all the classic Doctors", I do include Richard Hurndall and Michael Jayston.
Re: Your first doctor is YOUR doctor
Yeah, you're always going to have a special place in your heart for whichever Doctor got you to keep watching.
I was 5 when the local PBS station started airing it, and the very first episode I saw was the start of "Robot". I didn't fully understand what was going on, but it looked like fun...
Least favorite classic doctor: I don't like the McCoy era as much as the rest, but I don't have any problems with McCoy's portrayal, more with the writing during that time.
Fandom was not so nascent
I can't tell if the "nascent" fandom is supposed to mean DW fandom specifically or Australian science fiction fandom in general. If the latter, Australia had hosted its first World Science Fiction Convention, which requires a well-established and organized local fan community, in 1975.
It hadn't occurred to me that Tegan would be one of the top scorers, especially, in comparison to the much less stressful lives of her contemporaries! No wonder she eventually ran off saying "I've had enough!"
Not the way you were expecting
"Technology is supposed to be destroying the traditional media, but tech gurus can't seem to keep their mitts off the sector."
I for one am willing to believe that this is much more likely to be the death of traditional media than any other mechanism yet proposed.
Re: Time Lords as foes?
"[T]he other time lords aren't enemies except that the Doctor stole the Tardis"
...well, other than the Rani... and the War Chief... and Omega... and Borusa that one time...
(Unless this all got retconned in the new series, which i've never watched.)
Re: No programming required
Isn't it the approach in most college subjects to start from the beginning, as though the kids have learned nothing in their previous decade-plus of schooling? (Bitter comment about the quality of schooling in your home country left as an exercise for the reader.)
Anyway, assuming that no programming had been learned beforehand was certainly reasonable with most of my college classmates (US, late '90s).
Closing scene of "The Hand of Fear"
IIRC, Sarah Jane's remarks in that scene made it pretty clear at the time that it wasn't Croydon. (Though the information about exactly where it was did come much later.)
Don't forget the book
The reporter on the scene later wrote his autobiography and gave the whale top billing:
And if you think the state of Oregon learned its lesson about trying to get rid of large beach debris by blowing it up, look up the tale of the New Carissa.
But what about...
Totally with you on "Inferno"; that's the first thing I thought of when reading the introduction. It's also got one of the best commentaries of any of the classic Who DVD releases.
But some days I'd say "Warriors' Gate" is the best Doctor Who story ever. (Other days, I think it isn't possible to pick one.) The depiction of the slavers, some of whom might even be decent guys in other contexts but who have completely lost all sight of the fact that their cargo consists of sentient beings... the chief villain done in entirely by his own actions... the glimpse of the Tharil empire and the turnabout it's suffered. And sure, you can tell the effects were done on a '70s TV budget but IMHO they still hold up surprisingly well.
I think I'd put that in place of "The Pyramids of Mars" or "Robots of Death" and replace the other with "Mawdryn Undead". Partly that's because I'm a sucker for any story where they bring back an old favorite like the Brigadier, but partly also the sleight-of-hand involved in setting up the mystery of how two groups of people can be in the same place but can't find each other.
Biting the hand that feeds IT
Indeed! The strongest of all human emotions is the urge to *not make a fuss*. It's a useful one-- human civilization couldn't exist without it-- but it can be used against you. One of the basics of resisting any form of social control is being able to be the jerk sometimes.
What about the TARDIS itself?
I mean, in "The Edge of Destruction", a stuck switch has it hurtling back to the Big Bang to be obliterated, and the only way it's able to communicate this error condition is to show cryptic images on the video screen and induce psychosis in the passengers. What Gallifreyan BOFH came up with that interface??
From great pain comes great art
Without the Morris Worm, we'd never have had _A Fire Upon the Deep_, easily one of the best books ever to win the Hugo Award.
Four floors full of drunk people, surrounded in all directions by water... gosh, I can't think of any liability concerns there, especially at US levels of litigiousness.
Re: Only 11 actors?
Not to mention... John Hurt? I don't even watch the new series and I know about him.
Re: "So what do you suggest, Mr Clever Clogs?"
"I'm concious that I was once a young boy, and that these points would benefit from someone who was once a young girl:"
All right then, here I am! Actually, I don't think there are many differences in how to get young boys and young girls interested in programming. The big one is that with young girls you have to work against enormous cultural pressure steering them away from geekdom. I count myself very lucky that I first encountered home computers in a time before media depictions of programmers were common.
I was told repeatedly in primary school that girls weren't supposed to be good at math, but luckily I hated that school and everyone associated with it, so I didn't listen.
Being able to see how stuff is put together and works certainly helps stimulate interest. For me it was Zoids and Capsela and occasionally Heathkit.
I think there's something to be learned from the popularity of the steampunk movement. I've long thought that it's partly from a reaction to all our gadgets evolving into shiny slabs with no moving parts. If you could get at what still fascinates people about gears and steam and bring it into the classroom somehow...
"Pretty much one in one, we'd say, given a police force using simple four-figure numbers and with 1337 or more constables in it."
Given that it's a common practice to skip everything with leading 0s, I'd think the minimum force size in many cases is 338.
For a few years after playing it, I would insult it by saying it played like someone threw it together in Hypercard.
It took those few years for me to find out how it had actually been developed...
"Still, many gamers found Myst's approach too slow, and its puzzles too opaque."
"Straightforward, yes? Well no, because achieving both requires a high degree of lateral thinking or, to be honest, plenty of inspiration. Clues are opaque. A couple of times, I found myself resorting to the internet and, when learning the answer, accepting there was no way I would have thought of the solution."
Did we play the same game? I remember something so pathetically simple and with so little interactivity that I finished it in two sittings.
I loved the adventure-game genre for as long as Infocom kept churning out devilishly complicated stories that could keep me engrossed for session after session on a timespan of weeks and weeks. Myst and the stampede of imitations it inspired are what killed the genre for me.
Never trust a single-subject study...
...especially with fMRI. Sadly, the brilliant Science News article on fMRI a few years ago has vanished behind a paywall.
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