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  1. Robert F. O'Connor

    Seen this Quiznos commercial?

    The RatherGood guy seems to have created those ads: -Robert
  2. Robert F. O'Connor

    Teenager sentenced for Computer Hacking

    They're advanced units, fully subsidised by the State of California as per the Governator's campaign promise: "Rise of the Machines". The device Janet Jackson was "wearing" was a remote control unit. When MTV promised a "shocking" moment, they weren't kidding! -Robert
  3. Robert F. O'Connor

    The Ongoing Mars Explorer Thread

    (I hope these aren't too large, I think I shrunk them pretty good in Photoshop. I'm sure somebody will let me know if I need to repost these with smaller file sizes.) Speaking of the Opportunity panorama, there are a couple of odd objects that can be seen on the largest version of it. I...
  4. Robert F. O'Connor

    Multiverse - Long read. My brain hurts!

    In the last couple of years the only thing I've read regarding modern cosmology is Guth's book about inflation, so my insight here is pretty limited: I've always thought that the jump from the inflation theory to the inflationary multiverse theory implied that the Big Bang that we see in the...
  5. Robert F. O'Connor

    Can Bose (or others) do this in moves?

    Except to predict that if product placement begins to stray too close to arguable statements about specific products ("Crappywhip is a dessert topping and a cancer cure!") where money has changed hands you will see product placement begin to be regulated. In fact, I would bet that entire...
  6. Robert F. O'Connor

    Can Bose (or others) do this in moves?

    I am not a lawyer and I was making a broad generalization, but if a kind of speech can be regulated at will in great detail and only the occasional extreme example (e.g., no advertising of all "vice"-related products) gets slapped down the by the Supreme Court, then it is effectively not...
  7. Robert F. O'Connor

    Can Bose (or others) do this in moves?

    Rob: what Joseph said. Michael: Those cases, in fact, are the exceptions that prove the rule. They all explicitly recognize that commercial speech is excluded and extend 1st Amdmt. protections in extremely limited and narrow ways that only highlight their basic lack of protection: The...
  8. Robert F. O'Connor

    Can Bose (or others) do this in moves?

    The First Amendment does not in any way protect commercial speech and was never intended to. I believe the legal distinction between commercial and other speech predates the Bill of Rights by at least a couple of centuries. -Robert
  9. Robert F. O'Connor

    What's up with The Fifth Element?

    A couple of things: I gotta go with the "Wallace" crowd. It feels strongly like a scripted "flub" and fits his character's focus on non-worldly concerns. Story-wise, the threat made no sense and was, to me, the weakest part of the movie. In a way, it's never explained: what is it going to...
  10. Robert F. O'Connor

    Enter the MOAB

    What puzzles me about the MOAB is that it looks like a lot of effort to package this technology into a single unit when the technology itself ought to be simple to scale into practically as large a detonation as you want. For instance, multiple aircraft could drop multiple relatively smaller...
  11. Robert F. O'Connor

    att broadband

    Mike, that's a classic case of "not my problem". If I was stealing their cable signal I might have a different opinion, but they have ways of dealing with this anyway. In most locations, they have a locked cable box in which they can install a filter. I don't know if a filter is available to...
  12. Robert F. O'Connor

    Interesting weather phenomenon

    It's missing from the main page now, but if you click "Weather" on the left-hand "NEWSOK" menu (, you can find it under "Weather Stories" near the bottom of the page in the central content area. It is a "realplayer" video. -Robert
  13. Robert F. O'Connor

    Just a couple of off-the-wall questions

    Sales taxes tax items you buy. No matter how wealthy you are, there is only so much "stuff" you can buy, and no matter how poor you are, there are things you have to buy, such as clothing, transporation, gas. So, on average, the higher your income, the lower the percentage of it you spend on...
  14. Robert F. O'Connor

    Just a couple of off-the-wall questions

    Dave, no, they don't pay sales taxes on their raw materials. If you are going to ultimately resell something, you don't have to pay sales tax on it (that is, if you have a business license). They do have to pay sales tax on stuff like office supplies. In the age of EBay, I'm sure someone can...
  15. Robert F. O'Connor

    Funny Video Clip

    No dog, or in fact any animal that I can think of has the sheer power necessary to pull someone, even a child, up off the ground and fly them through the air like that. If this was real, she'd simply fall and be dragged. And notice this dog's amazing acceleration. It's just not possible. On...
  16. Robert F. O'Connor

    Can you purchase beer/wine over the web?

    Actually, it is not wineries that are being "protected", but liquor distributors. The repeal of Prohibition included an exception to the Constitution's Interstate Commerce clause (only the Feds can regulate commerce among states) to allow states to regulate liquor sales and distribution. You can...
  17. Robert F. O'Connor

    Need a Fortran 90 compiler

    Under the theory that there are always alternatives, can you explain a little of your situation? More practically, here's a link I found to a PDF price sheet for a company called Lahey that sells Fortran compilers of all kinds: Note that they have a Fortran...
  18. Robert F. O'Connor

    Ok I give up what the hell is a cthulhu? [spelling corrected by admin out of fear]

    For those who read the Charles Stross story Julie linked to (great to read it again--I read it originally in Gardner Dozois's Best SF #18), here is an "Anomalocaris", just in case the name sounded like a joke. There is also really a "Hallucigenia". The Anomalocaris at two feet long was the...
  19. Robert F. O'Connor

    O.k., what the heck is 'Lord of the Rings'?

    Well, this started out as a search on the word "Dragonslayer", but I have to respond to the posts on the possibilities of the influence of Wagner on LOTR. I don't want to spend too much time on it, mainly because I don't want to seem to be aiming this at Mr. Markworthy-I'm not, just his...
  20. Robert F. O'Connor

    How would you destroy a planet?

    Ike, It depends on whether you are talking about the long run or the short run and whether you really mean "the Moon" or just "something as big as the moon". In the long run (more than a few billion years for our solar system), no planets probably have stable orbits, so anything could...
  21. Robert F. O'Connor

    My dog had her ACL replaced!

    Joseph, I had the same reaction! In my programming job, I spend way too much time doing W2K server maintenance/changes. I still don't know what an ACL is in an animal. -Robert
  22. Robert F. O'Connor

    Serious Question: Why does TNN have the black bar?

    I think they are theorizing that people surfing by might see a random image of a show and not recognize it as something they like. If the name of the show is sitting there on the bottom of the screen all the time, maybe you'll stop and watch because you recognize it as something you like (or...
  23. Robert F. O'Connor

    Alias 10/7/01

    Anyone notice a weird color pulsing during the show? Mostly I noticed people's faces going from red to pale and back again. Somebody on this show has great taste in music, too: obscure Peter Gabriel one night, Kate Bush the next (who is relatively obscure in her own right). Way to go! Anyone...
  24. Robert F. O'Connor

    Last night's CSI episode....

    I find it entertaining, but it is often not as intellectually rigorous a show as the producers would like it to be. The last episode is a good example: neither the professor nor his wife were dead ends--the team just seemed to just take them at their words and then wandered off to look for...
  25. Robert F. O'Connor

    Holy Moly! Buzzed by fighter jets

    Well, there's a final word on this particular incident. On Thursday, the rule that only planes with working transponders (i.e., FAA-trackable) were allowed to fly was still in force (it has since been dropped) and, coincidentally, two flights in the area of the Petaluma Airport on that evening...
  26. Robert F. O'Connor

    Is this bad for me? -aka- Is there a chiropractor in the house?

    Thank you, but no, really! I was being serious! It is some kind of wacky philosophy about channeling energy or something, but I didn't want to sound too inflammatory. :) That is not to say that some of what they do is not beneficial, but it is sort of coincidental. I imagine the person that...
  27. Robert F. O'Connor

    Is this bad for me? -aka- Is there a chiropractor in the house?

    The difference between medical doctors and chiropracters is very simple: - what medical doctors practice is based on scientific medical research; - what chiropracters practice is not. -Robert
  28. Robert F. O'Connor

    World Trade Center - Rebuilding idea

    Something I posted in another thread is that a lot of people are pointing out that part of the reason for the large-scale loss of life is simply that the towers were too large to evacuate in a reasonable amount of time. There are other dangers to large buildings including earthquakes (not...
  29. Robert F. O'Connor

    Holy Moly! Buzzed by fighter jets

    Here's the story: The scary thing about it is these guys were probably prepared (though not expecting) to shoot a plane out of the sky practically over our heads! -Robert