glycol57 comments

Posted in: Do you think smartphones are becoming too complicated with too many functions? See in context

The computer power required to perform a few useful functions is also more than enough to perform dozens of questionably-useful functions ... and engineers hate to waste "potential". Unfortunately the user interface becomes complicated and it becomes more and more difficult to operate the phone for ANY purpose.

There's a US company that sells a phone called the "JitterBug". The target audience is mostly older people who didn't grow up with high-tech. It's a cell phone ... and pretty much JUST a cell phone. No internet, no media, I don't even think it can take a picture. Lots of them are sold ... and not JUST to older people.

This suggests that perhaps a three-tier plan should be adopted by industry ... produce a 'minimal' phone like the Jitterbug, a 'utility' phone with photo and e-mail added, and an 'everything' phone with whatever the engineers and programmers can fit in there. Consumers can then pick the one that best fits their needs.

An alternative of sorts ... now feasable ... is a voice-control phone with NO 'menus' or anything like that. If you want a straight cellphone, press 'ON' and say "cell phone". If you need e-mail or texting or photos or streaming media or whatever, just SAY it and the phone does its best to become exactly what you need at the moment.

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Posted in: Which form of renewable energy do you think is the best alternative to nuclear energy? See in context

Japan has a problem. Photoelectrics are expensive and Japan is a little too far north to make best use of them.

Hydroelectric may not be practical either in an earthquake-prone nation because dams and other water containment structures could fail in a sudden and spectacular way.

Wind ... well ... the variability of the power produced limits HOW it can be used, plus those huge windmills are expensive.

Geothermal hasn't lived up to hopes either for a number of technical reasons.

In theory, ocean currents and tides can produce a lot of power, but it requires an impractical amount of hardware to accomplish on any useful scale - and the laws of thermodynamics come into play limiting how much power you can extract from slow-moving water.

Which doesn't leave Japan with many options in the short or medium term. Coal/gas/nuclear .... choose your devil and learn to co-exist with it.

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Posted in: Palin kick-starts bus tour on back of motorcycle See in context

Palin is not "presidential material". However she does appeal to a certain faction of her party - which makes her valuable. She will deliver both campaign money and votes for whomever the Republicans run next year.

It also seems the party uses Palin as a propaganda device to deliver groin-kicks to Obama and the Democrats while the mainline GOP can pretend to be above it all. All in all, politics as usual.

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Posted in: Why do famous men with power and influence (Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tiger Woods, Bill Clinton, for example) risk everything with their sexual behavior? See in context

These are people of high ambition and drive - 'alphas' - they want it all.

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Posted in: Why do tourists continue to stay away from Japan, despite the fact that there are many places of interest far away from the crisis-affected areas? What should Japanese tourism officials do to promote See in context

"Safe" isn't all there is to it. There is also a perception that Japan is in a state of crisis and that foreigners would just be "in the way" and unwanted.

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Posted in: When a company is at the center of a crisis (TEPCO or BP, for example), should that company's top executive resign to take responsibility? See in context

One function of a CEO is to become the official scapegoat for the company so its other executuves, investors and stockholders can escape blame for decisions they were also a part of. This is one reason CEO's are paid so much.

This sort of thing is a form of deception. It leads the public into believing everything is fixed and OK again when actually you still have 99 percent of the same bad decision-makers working at the company. More bad desisions will result.

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Posted in: Depp steers 'Pirates' into critical seas of Cannes See in context

Depp has hit upon a good comic character, but you can wear out ANYTHING after awhile. Too many sequels !

I suppose it pays the rent however.

At least Depp keeps himself busy in an impressively large variety of roles - not one of those 'one note' actors. I'd say he's the "most versatile" actor out there right now and he isn't afraid of "weird stuff" or films that might not earn a lot of money.

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Posted in: IMF chief under suicide watch at NYC jail See in context

This was surely a set up. He was in somebodys way ... between them and billions or trillions of dollars. This is just too much like what they did to Julian Assange to take seriously. He also was 'inconvenient' to a lot of powerful people.

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Posted in: Man stabs female volunteer worker at Ishinomaki Red Cross hospital See in context

Doesn't there seem to be an escalation in stabbings in Japan over the past few years ? Is this the new way to 'solve' all your frustrations and problems ?

Maybe it's the dismal economic climate. Stressful times tend to push people to extremes more easily. They just get burnt out and don't have the patience or emotional reserve needed for more civilized resolutions.

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Posted in: Airlines say they have no choice but to pass the increase in oil prices on to passengers in the form of a higher fuel tax? Do you agree? See in context

Airlines are always on the edge of bankruptcy - and many have failed over the past 20 years. Clearly they are NOT "price gouging" ... in fact they're barely getting by.

I think many people remember the "boom" of the 1950s and 60s as the jet age kicked in. THEN airlines were making lots of money. NOW however ....

So yea, like it or not, when a basic like fuel becomes noticibly more expensive they HAVE to add something to the ticket price. Some complain that they're slow to reduce prices afterwards, but remember that they're always behind the curve here ... they don't charge more until fuel prices have been high for awhile, ergo they have to make that up by letting higher prices linger for awhile too.

If you're really worried about where your money is going, check your mobile phone bills ... and where your government is spending your taxes ........

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Posted in: Sony says 25 million more accounts hacked See in context

|| The upshot of this (and countless other incidents) is that the convenient "cashless society" has become a dangerous pipe-dream.

|Nah. It just needs better security, that's all. Every failure is a learning experience.

"Better security" ? If it existed, and was user-friendly enough for people to tolerate, it would already be in use.

And then someone would find a way around it ... a lot quicker than you'd think.

Time to seriously re-think e-commerce, billions and trillions of (pick a currency) are at clear risk. The large interests can afford insurance and/or expensive measures to protect themselves and recover losses ... but you and I cannot. The "little guy" will always lose this game.

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Posted in: Should the U.S. release photos or video footage of Osama bin Laden's body? See in context

Photographs "prove" nothing nowadays. The CIA surely has software MUCH better than PhotoShop - and could generate any photographic "proof" it wants on demand. George Washington rode a dinosaur ? Sure. A photo SO good that nobody could ever find a flaw could be created overnight.

Video is more difficult to fake because of the sheer volume of material and changing 3-D relationships among other things but that can be faked too. Just might take a little longer.

As a rule of thumb, if you don't see the photo within one hour of an event, or a video within a day, don't be 100% convinced that pictures tell no lies.

So then what's the POINT of a dead bin-Laden photo except "morbid interest" ? They say he was killed at that place, at that time, in that way - and that's the official truth from now on whether it's true or not.

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Posted in: Sony says 25 million more accounts hacked See in context

The upshot of this (and countless other incidents) is that the convenient "cashless society" has become a dangerous pipe-dream. Security is nearly nil, and ID thieves can clean you out, create new accounts and clean THEM out, and leave YOU stuck with all the bills far far TOO easily nowadays. Neither banks or governments can, or seem to want to, do anything about it.

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Posted in: Do you use Twitter? See in context

If Twitter ever had any use, that has largely disappeared due to the sheer volume of trivial innanities posted. I have literally seen women wandering through a supermarket, twittering on practically every step they make as if someone, somewhere, would think it's important.

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Posted in: What do you think about all the panic buying of bottled water in Tokyo after reports that radioactive iodine exceeding the limit for infants was found in tap water in some wards? See in context

Radio-iodine is one of the expected products of a damaged nuclear reactor ... and it will go wherever the wind goes.

Knowing an iodine issue was very likely, the government and industry should both have immediately acted to move huge amounts of bottled water into the Tokyo area, buying out the whole south of Japan if necessary.

Water PURIFICATION units - the big ones, not home devices - should have been brought in by the SDF as well so people could bring their own containers and have them filled as a longer-term solution. If Japan didn't have enough such purification units, several friendly nations could have flown them in on very short notice.

It sounds as if the government dropped the ball here. However it must be noted that there was so much ELSE going on that some details were bound to be overlooked.

There is still time to FIX this situation however, IF action is prompt and decisive. Food and clean water MUST flow into Tokyo immediately. It seems the critical point is being reached right now and there may not BE any supplies within just a few days. This would be a new disaster with millions of victims.

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Posted in: In view of the continuing nuclear crisis and ongoing aftershocks since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, are you planning to leave Tokyo or stay? See in context

We are staying put too. Been through Chernobyl and came through ok.

So far as you know ...

Radiation effects can show up 20+ years later.

On the other hand, this is NOT Chernobyl. The amount of radiation is vastly less and the spectrum of radioactive products is narrower. Things could get worse - and time is important here also as radiation damage is cumulative, meaning long exposure to minimal radiation is equivalent to shorter exposure to more - but if there was going to be some spectacular fault in a reactor I think it would have happened by now.

Which leaves any reasonable person in a quandry about what to do. Don't panic, stick it out ... but risk long-term exposure - or be an UN-reasonable person, panic, lose job and friends and money and home ... but you won't have to worry about leukemia or thyroid cancer later on.

No clear answer. That's just how some things are in life.

I'd say wait patiently one more week and see what happens. By then they will have re-activated whatever cooling systems can be re-activated and see the results. The radiation over the past couple of weeks hasn't been THAT bad except near the power plant, so you ought to be safe waiting in Tokyo for at least one more week. THEN make the most reasonable decision you can.

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Posted in: Does freedom of speech include the right to yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater, yell "Shark" at a beach or joke about having a bomb on a plane, for example? See in context

"Freedom of speech" DOES include shouting "Fire !" in a crowded venue. What the "freedom" means is that you won't be prosecuted by the State for what you actually uttered. "Fire !" and "Free Tibet !" and "Vote ABC Party !" are all to be the same to the State.

However ... words can have consequences, potentially damaging or even fatal consequences. If "Fire !" provokes a panic, you CAN be prosecuted for that and any damages to persons or property that result, financial losses etc..

In PRACTICE, it is common for State authorities to silence people attempting to provoke a mob - calling for violence, lynchings and other gross injustices or breeches of order even if the mob never does anything.

Such cases usually get thrown out of court later, quietly, the main idea being to give authorities the power to interrupt incitement at the moment it's being done, averting a riot or whatever. Strictly speaking it's a technical run-around the principle of free speech - they arrest you THEN, but drop the charge later.

In 1st-world nations, the main threat to free speech is no longer the State. Instead it is corporations and political groups. They exploit the "consequences" aspect of speech and SUE the bringers of bad tidings into oblivion. Large associations like businesses and political groups can afford the best lawyers, and lots OF them.

Persons who have uttered speech said groups may claim 'offensive' or libelous usually cannot afford that much legal firepower. One has to wonder whether the State sometimes encourages certain groups to sue 'offensive' individuals ... achieving State speech restrictions by proxy, invisibly.

Speech that may have provoked consequences - but indirectly or with a long time delay - usually escapes censorship entirely. If you shout "Vote ABC Party !" and the ABC Party later does something evil, you're not going to be prosecuted.

'Intangibles' like religion, philosophy and ideology likewise tend to slide under the censorship radar in 1st-world nations. This has frustrated a certain faction of Americans who desperately want to silence Islamists there.

In a similar recent case, a religious group which disrupts and protests the funerals of soldiers - claiming they deserved to die because the military tolerates homosexuals - elicited attempts to silence them. The highest court refused, saying the right to free speech (and freedom of religion) empowered that group even though it was horribly offensive to almost everybody. "Rights", of course, aren't needed for crowd-friendly speech ... they are needed to protect speech the crowd may NOT want to hear.

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Posted in: Egypt's military promises no force against protests See in context

Then maybe an Army General should stage a coup so as the control of the country doesn't fall into some bad hands.

Um ... the hands of a general who stages a coup ARE "bad hands". That NEVER seems to work out well.

Actually, I am proud of the Egyptian military. It did not turn on the people it was sworn to defend - and this in a part of the world where the military is commonly used for such purposes. Hopefully they will be an example to the military officials in other unstable countries.

Unfortunately, there have also been calls from islamist groups to have the military immediately attack Israel. This is a problem. The military must serve someone, something. It is a tool awaiting a job. If islamists wind up with significant power in the new Egyptian government, those "good guys" may be put to dangerously aggressive purposes. Do they refuse ? If so, whom do they serve except themselves ?

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Posted in: Do you think Tatsuya Ichihashi, the suspect in the killing of British teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker, should have been allowed to write a book for publication before his trial? See in context

guess all of the "NO" voters do not understand "democracy" in all it's aspects. There are some rights ALL citizens have, regardless of what they have done (at least until proven guilty of something). We can't shut up somebody "just because I freakin' said so", or "just because I believe it is wrong if he talks"...

You're perfectly correct ... except in this ONE special instance.

"Crime", especially spectacular crimes, is something certain criminals aim to profit from. Some want money, but others seek fame and celebrity.

They shouldn't get it.

I think every jurisdiction in the USA now forbids convicts from making money from films or books about their crimes ... at least so long as they're still in prison or parole.

There are also issues about creating 'celebrity' or personality cults and how that might affect the administration of justice. Bad enough when outsiders do it, but it's a given that a criminals efforts are intended to be purely self-serving.

Even 'democracies' make some exceptions to the usual rights of free speech and other rights when criminal behavior is involved. These individuals have betrayed the very system that sustained them AND their civil rights. As such, they lose certain rights.

This doesn't mean every 'criminal' should lose rights forever ... indeed the USA has expanded the definition of 'felony' so much now and to include much pure trivia that large blocs of the population - mostly poor & 'minority - are ineligible to even vote. Rights should be returned in a systematic fashion once a criminal has "done his time" and been a good boy for a while thereafter.

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Posted in: Smoking, obesity are why U.S. lifespans lag a bit See in context

Sheer quantity of life must be balanced by the quality of that life ... and a health-NAZI approach to living most certainly does NOT improve the quality. You do not "owe it" to government or 'society' to give up what you love just so you can live an extra couple of years - and maybe put an extra dollar or two in your employers pocket.

So sit back, relax, have a beer and a smoke and maybe order a pizza with all the yummy toppings. Might take a few minutes off your life, but it'll be a life you remember with fondness. Besides, not being uptight, unhappy and feeling deprived reduces stress - which ADDS to your lifespan ...

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Posted in: 9-year-old girl slashed in face and neck in Osaka See in context

Cruelty, mean-spiritedness and predatory behavior are as much a part of Japans history and culture as they are of almost any country you care to mention. These 'memes' are deeply, probably permanently, embedded and reflect the inner nature of the species as much as the details of any given culture.

However, these little devils sitting on our shoulders CAN be ignored - if we really want to ignore them. 'Empathy education' in childhood can go a long way in keeping these demons under control.

Finding things for unhappy youths to do other than make trouble ALSO goes a long way towards reducing such incidents. Alas that approach is something large industrialized societies have a poor record of success in achieving and sustaining. Japan, given its penchant for organized activities and group-think, COULD have better success with this than many other countries - IF it tried. In your struggle to earn a living, don't forget what you're living FOR ... don't forget your children.

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Posted in: George Clooney uses Hollywood starpower in Sudan See in context

Sudan will improve on its own ... but that won't stop Clooney from trying to claim credit.

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Posted in: Mark Twain remains censored, and uncensored See in context

Sam Clemens would have beaten these publishers with a cane.

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Posted in: Arizona Rep Giffords shot, 6 killed, including judge, 9-year-old girl See in context

Lunatics and fanatics abound in this world. They always find a way to torture us. So long as there are people there will be incidents like this. Accept it and move on with life.

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Posted in: With gay ban debate over, military impact in doubt See in context

The gays were always there anyway. It's puzzling why some soldiers who are afraid of or wary about of gays would be more upset about the gays they will now know rather than the "stealth" gays they previously didn't know about.

There exists a faction that is opposed to homosexuality on religious grounds however. They see any evidence of homosexuality as a sort of promotion of homosexuality and thus prefer to keep it buried - lest others be tempted.

The USA is still a rather puritanical - sometimes almost 'Talibanistic' - culture and "sex=sin" has been a longstanding cultural feature/fetish/obsession there since the first religious fanatics fled to those shores from europe. Ordinary sex is bad enough in the puritans eyes, so out-of-the-ordinary sex causes their brains to implode into a tiny dense mass which neither logic or civility can penetrate. It's why the gay soldier issue is such a big deal for the US military and population.

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Posted in: In view of what has been happening with WikiLeaks and various file-sharing software, is privacy a lost cause? See in context

Privacy isn't a "lost" cause - but it needs to become a major cause in this century. The more government, corporations and criminals (but I repeat myself :-) can find out about the details of your life the easier and more tempting it is for them to exploit that information for their own gain, and your loss. Technology has made it far easier to steal more quickly than either law or public awareness has been able to react.

More legal measures are needed to prohibit information "diffusion" - ie make it illegal to sell/trade personal data between corporations. Penalties for allowing information to 'leak' - stolen or lost - must be increased (no more unencrypted laptops full of credit info left at rail stations, no more employees loading such info onto thumb drives for sale to criminals !). Standards for government obtaining/buying/stealing such info without a proper warrant must also be tightened.

Unfortunately, those who benifit from the data trade are also the most powerful entities - the movers and shakers - and have considerable influence over legislative agendas. Thus it will require considerable, persistent, pressure from the public to push through data-protection laws.

As for "WikiLeaks" ... that's less a 'privacy' issue than one of, well, you can call it 'reporting' or 'espionage' depending on your point of view. The leaks major value is in demonstrating what a huge difference there is between the politics our "news" sources deliver and the REAL truths that shape our world and lives. The public lives in a fantasy world engineered by our 'leaders'. How can we make sound decisions under such circumstances ???

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Posted in: Is religion more of a destructive or benign force in the world today? See in context

Aum shinrikyo = destructive, Mother Teressa = benign

Um ... you might want to investigate some of MT's details rather than just what her PR people generated. She was not "benign" in either the theological or practical sense. Not awful, but not "benign" either.

In any case, people who become convinced they have some superpower on their side, well, you've heard the phrase "Absolute power corrupts absolutely" I suppose ....

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Posted in: Sarah Palin: Serious 2012 contender or pretender? See in context

Pretender.

Although she's smarter than she lets on, she still doesn't give anyone that feeling that she could be a "unifier" - everyones president - nor do we get the impression that she's especially well-informed or well-opinioned about relevant issues large and small. Palin serves best as a fundraiser and path-marker for the Republican Party.

However, as a party strategy, it doesn't hurt to dangle Palin in front of the opposition ... thus forcing them to spend time and resources on ways to counteract her if she DID actually run. Meanwhile a 'stealth' candidate - like Obama was - of greater potential can be cultivated off the radar.

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Posted in: Is religion more of a destructive or benign force in the world today? See in context

The dominant religions always seem to be about dividing people into "The Good" (your religion) and "The Bad" (other peoples religions). This may or may not have been the intent of the original founders of these faiths, but the human factor guarentees that divisionism WILL become a significant factor. Faiths all too easily lend themselves as political tools.

I'll exclude Buddhism as it's less a 'religion' per-se than what one man saw as a "self-improvement" guide that could be applied to many religions (if you're into that whole ego-hating, self-evaporation, nothingness-loving thing ... which I think a short walk off any tall building could accomplish without 50 years of meditating - but that's just my opinion dontchaknow).

Alas, people seem "wired" for religion - doesn't seem to matter WHICH religion - so I doubt religion or its influences are going to go away. This means we need to develop some kind of philosophical and practical framework within which all religions can operate as freely as possible while, at the same time, avoid doing damage to each other.

The United Nations was an attempt at doing this for political/economic philosophies ... so why not aim at something similar (and better) aimed at smoothing the sharp edges between religions so they can't easily be used as weapons of mass destruction ?

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Posted in: 'Deathly Hallows' will leave fans eager for finale See in context

This has been an extremely successful series of films. Movies almost -never- accurately translate a novel ... and, being a totally different kind of medium, maybe they shouldn't try for that degree of "perfection". Film tells a story in a different way than print ; artistically it's a "different language".

Clearly the movie patrons aren't "insulted". They've made the producers very rich, and Rowling even richer. I expect both the books and films will stand the test of time.

And the BEST thing about the films is that they've maintained that particularly British institution of horrific 'kiddie' stories. Each one is darker than its predecessor. An American treatment of the stories would have coated them with a thick layer of sugar and cute-ness and sucked out every trace of moral complexity and ambiguity - yuk !

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