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New Long-Range RFID Technology Helps Robots Find Household Objects

Allen Akin Re:I just want the detector ... (38 comments)

UGrokIt (ugrokit.com) just started shipping such a thing. (Disclosure: I have worked with UGrokIt.)

about 4 months ago

Oppo's New Phone Hits 538 PPI

Allen Akin Re: approximately the resolution of an adult eye @ (217 comments)

There's a difference between static and dynamic content. Aliasing artifacts that are perfectly acceptable at 300DPI on a non-moving line can be pretty annoying on a moving line. The same goes for other high-frequency features in images.

about 10 months ago

What Are the Genuinely Useful Ideas In Programming?

Allen Akin FP; project scheduling (598 comments)

The behavior of floating-point arithmetic. This wasn't covered in my university curriculum, and was necessary in tasks including graphics, machine learning, and finance once I got into the industrial world.

As a manager, possibly the single most important skill for me was learning the ways to estimate the time required for complex programming tasks. Once you're tackling problems beyond the scope of a single programmer, coordination is required, and schedule estimation is essential.

about a year ago

West Nile Virus Outbreak Puts Dallas In State of Emergency

Allen Akin Re:No one has posted in minutes! (167 comments)

In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency has stated that concentrations of up to 100% are safe for adults. The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that concentrations of up to 30% are safe for children. In both cases the repellent must be applied properly! Consumer Reports recommends 30% to 50% for adults, and helpfully explains that higher concentrations last longer, but don't repel any more effectively than lower concentrations.

Personally, I've used 100% DEET for a week at a time, a few times a year, over several years, without any of the documented side-effects. If someone is in one of the (relatively uncommon) situations where it's appropriate, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend trying it. Otherwise, adults can use 30% to 50% DEET and reapply as needed. My kids use 10% to 30% when necessary.

All this is subject to the usual cost/benefit tradeoffs, of course. There appears to be a lot of data showing that the risk of using DEET is low, so if West Nile or some other mosquito-borne disease is threatening, the benefit probably outweighs the risk.


more than 2 years ago

National Debt Clock Overflowed, Extended By a Digit

Allen Akin Re:Math says it bad, but not quite AS bad (696 comments)

... what's really important is the debt-per-capita ratio...

That's possible, but what's your compelling rationale? Without one, I could just as easily argue that the really important metric is debt/GDP, debt/median-income, debt/income distribution function, or a dozen other things.


more than 6 years ago


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