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Comments

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My present employer I think will survive ...

AlpineR Employer in hospice (225 comments)

Self-employed scientific consultant. Been battling cancer for seven years (age 37), now in a mode of hospice care with widespread tumors growing rapidly. Don't know by what mechanism things will end, but it's likely to happen in the next six months.

One thing that bothers me as I prepare for that end: I am the sole maintainer for a few small open source projects. Right now I pay my former university for web hosting. Is there a good way to set up a host for after my death (several years prepaid or some sort of archival service)?

more than 3 years ago
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Tron: Legacy — Too Much Imagination Required?

AlpineR Social movie watching (429 comments)

You can talk during the previews. You might even get to the theater early and talk while your group gathers in the lobby. Or you could drive to the theater together and socialize in the car. Then after the movie you could all discuss the movie (or whatever else) on your drive home.

Movies are also long enough that you'll frequently want to refill your belly before or after the film. This phenomenon has led to the common phrase: "Dinner and a movie". Unless everyone stares at their plate and chews in silence, that too would be a peg more social than Pizza Pockets and a DVD alone at David's house.

more than 3 years ago
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Retailers Dread Phone-Wielding Shoppers

AlpineR Haggling (725 comments)

I am an American and I hate haggling. It takes time and effort, multiplied by the number of stores offering the item. They should all just name their best price up front. If one store names a price $10 higher than the others but will drop it by $15 if I ask nicely, I'll just buy it from another store with a lower list price. I don't want to drive around visiting all the different stores to haggle for their actual prices.

more than 3 years ago
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Retailers Dread Phone-Wielding Shoppers

AlpineR Forecasts and reality (725 comments)

The stock dives because the expected profit has already been factored into the stock price. Stockholders raised their selling price months ago based on their forecast of $175 million in profit. The actual profit of only $150 million forces them to sell for a bit less. But, theoretically, the new price should be the same as if the forecast had ben $150 million all along - higher than the price during the year with $100 million but lower than it would be with $175 million in actual profits.

more than 3 years ago
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Retailers Dread Phone-Wielding Shoppers

AlpineR Target (725 comments)

Have you shopped at Target?

I rarely enter Wal-Mart so I can't make many direct comparisons. But to me Target has a reputation for a little nicer, more stylish stuff and great prices. Recently I bought a 3-pack of Aveeno Colloidal Oatmeal shaving cream; good for sensitive skin and priced at what a single can would cost at my local independent pharmacy. They also have nice kitchenware like Calaphon anodized aluminum pans and some fancier chocolates than you'd find at many grocery stores. Before I discovered IKEA I bought most of my home furnishings there and occasionally I find stylish clothing that elicits many compliments (though I still do most of my clothes shopping at their sister chain, Macy's).

more than 3 years ago
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How much TV do you watch in a week, on average?

AlpineR 500+ channels (385 comments)

I don't understand why anyone would bother paying for 500+ channels you're most likely never going to watch.

Why do you bother paying for a billion Web pages you're never going to view? Same reason people pay for 500 channels – they're part of a service, and you can't reduce cost by dropping the options that you personally aren't using.

more than 3 years ago
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The Beatles On iTunes

AlpineR Compact music (551 comments)

That line from Men in Black has become so true now. When the movie was made the most compact form of music storage really was the compact disc. For much less physical volume you can now have a 32 GB memory card. With modern sound compression that's enough room for hundreds of albums.

If you're still lugging around the White Album on CD, it really is time to buy it again.

more than 3 years ago
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Replacing Sports Bloggers With an Algorithm

AlpineR Re:Close, but still not pratical (120 comments)

Perhaps even presenting the results from surveys or scientific studies.

I was just thinking: yeah the writing is dry and disjointed, much like my scientific articles. I wouldn't mind a robo writing assistant to help me put out journal articles. Much of it is, in fact, dry and formulaic.

more than 3 years ago
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Will Netflix Destroy the Internet?

AlpineR Re:Streaming Netflix was disappointing (577 comments)

Just checked on the titles your parent named. Still no streaming of Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark.

I've found lots to watch on my Wii streaming channel including Michael Palin Pole-To-Pole and District 9. But many blockbuster movies are still missing.

more than 3 years ago
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As smart-phones go, my phone is ...

AlpineR Cell phone zombies (519 comments)

I think it works the other way around. Cell service creates zombies. At least that's my observation, noting that 90% of the bad drivers on the road have a cell phone jacked into their brain. And walking down the street, somebody on their phone is likely to bump into me regardless of whether I were brandishing a knife or holding up a sign saying "Beware of open manhole".

more than 3 years ago
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Is SSD Density About To Hit a Wall?

AlpineR Si prices (208 comments)

I don't think so. Back when I used to do research on microelectronic fabrication methods, we bought 3-inch wafers for about $10 apiece. Those were high purity with doping to whatever type and level we selected. And that was without bulk pricing or favorable price scaling with larger wafers.

Our molecular beam growth chamber, however, cost hundreds of thousands of dollars plus tens of thousands per year for supplies and maintenance (plus tens of thousands for a postdoc and a grad student to run it).

So I really think the cost of equipment and processing far outweighs the cost of the silicon wafers. Otherwise, all CPU's with the same physical size would have roughly the same price, regardless of transistor count or clock speed.

more than 3 years ago
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US Couple Arrested For Transmitting Nuclear Secrets In Sting Operation

AlpineR 1980's / 2010's (372 comments)

What's a "pinball machine"?

more than 3 years ago
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HDCP Master Key Revealed

AlpineR Local mirror (747 comments)

HDCP MASTER KEY (MIRROR THIS TEXT!)

I think they meant mirror this text on other sites. A copy of another comment posted six minutes earlier doesn't really help.

more than 3 years ago
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How Good Software Makes Us Stupid

AlpineR Easy choice (385 comments)

When I can't pick something to read / watch / work on, I just refresh Slashdot and spend 30 minutes reading, commenting, and moderating.

God, I've wasted so much of my life on activities like this. If it weren't for the Internet, I would probably read some of those books I discovered on Amazon or watch more of those movies recommended by Netflix or get together with some of my Facebook friends. Oh, the irony.

more than 3 years ago
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AMD Hates Laptop Stickers As Much As You Do

AlpineR Apple stickers (597 comments)

I bought a bunch of apples last week and each one had a sticker on it. "Fuji 4224". Had to carefully peel them off before biting into them. I don't think they're digestible.

Oh, you mean the computer company. Capital 'A'. Gotcha.

more than 3 years ago
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Just Where Is The Lincoln Memorial, Anyhow?

AlpineR Union Shield (650 comments)

Not anymore. The current penny has a Union shield instead of the Lincoln memorial.

more than 3 years ago
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Just Where Is The Lincoln Memorial, Anyhow?

AlpineR Metro to the Mall (650 comments)

The actual instructions for Tea Partiers says to avoid the Blue and Orange lines past Eastern Market. They can get to Smithsonian Station just fine. But if they're on the Red Line to begin with, then Farragut North is the better station to exit from anyway - no time wasted transferring and it avoids the cramped conditions (and innumerable clueless tourists) at Smithsonian. The only downside is they'll have to walk past a small park with a few scary, possibly ethnic homeless people. On the plus side, and quite ironically, a block later they'll pass near the White House.

P.S. The closest Metro station to the Lincoln Memorial is actually Foggy Bottom on the Blue/Orange Lines. But that means walking through seven city blocks (full of unpatriotic city folk) rather than a scenic walk down the Mall.

more than 3 years ago
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UVB-76 Explained

AlpineR And so the world turns (222 comments)

If so, Slashdot is not the only organization that does it. Fox broadcasts American Idol, and a thousand Slashdotters complain about how it demonstrates the emptiness of American culture. Fox News broadcasts easily parodied "news" and a million Daily Show viewers laugh at how dumb and desperate American conservatives are. In the meantime, the owners of News Corp are carrying out their real mission with little notice.

more than 3 years ago
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What's Wrong With the American University System

AlpineR High school graduation rates (828 comments)

What is wrong with the university system is because we've screwed up our high school system to pretty much let -everyone- graduate, a diploma now means nothing.

Not true. The average U.S. high school graduation rate is only 69% (Source: HigherEdInfo.org). It's as low as 50% in some states. Maybe you're distinguishing between those kids that schools "let" graduate and those students that choose not to graduate. But either way, not everybody has a high school diploma.

about 4 years ago
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School District Drops 'D' Grades

AlpineR Lake Wobegon (617 comments)

I love this line from the article:

The "drop the D" philosophy worked so well for a school in Kentucky, they ended up dropping the C grade too. Now students in 5th grade and higher get an A, B or F.

Apparently, anyone average or below fails in their schools. Kentucky - where all the 6th graders are above average.

about 4 years ago

Submissions

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Panel Says To Skip Breast Cancer Screenings

AlpineR AlpineR writes  |  more than 4 years ago

AlpineR writes "The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force has changed the recommendation on breast cancer screening (full report). Self examination should no longer be taught. Women in their 40's should skip all screening. Women in their 50's should reduce mammograms from annually to biennially. And women 75 and older showed no benefit from screening.

This change is a shock to many Americans who have personal stories of lives saved by early detection. How do we reconcile those anecdotes with the science and economics of healthcare?"

Link to Original Source
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Technical review of Snow Leopard

AlpineR AlpineR writes  |  more than 4 years ago

AlpineR writes "Ars Technica has posted a long technical review of the architectural changes in Snow Leopard. File compression smuggles extra data into HFS+ files to speed I/O. The operating system is now almost entirely 64-bit and encourages developers to come along. Quicktime is being updated piecemeal into a modern, 64-bit video system with Quicktime X. LLVM and Clang offer two fast and flexible alternatives to compilation with GCC. Blocks bring dynamic programming features like for_each() to C-based languages. Grand Central Dispatch makes it easy to launch the right number of threads for the available hardware and encourages parallelization of code. OpenCL makes intensive processing portable to the CPU, GPU, or dedicated accelerators. The article also inspects the graphical changes in Snow Leopard and minor new features of the Dock, Finder, and system dialogs."
Link to Original Source
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Where does morality come from?

AlpineR AlpineR writes  |  more than 6 years ago

AlpineR writes "The New York Times has posted an excellent essay by psychologist Steven Pinker on The Moral Instinct. He explains several modern theories of why humans have morals and how we distinguish between actions that are immoral, disagreeable, unfashionable, and imprudent. Most of our moral judgments seem to be hard-wired in healthy brains and are based upon concepts of harm, fairness, community, authority, and purity. But people disagree on moral decisions because of differences in prioritization of these concepts. Our moral circuitry is shaped by evolution, but the underlying concepts seem to exist in an abstract Platonic realm."
Link to Original Source
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Absolute Hot

AlpineR AlpineR writes  |  more than 6 years ago

AlpineR writes "Is there an opposite to absolute zero? An article from PBS's NOVA online explains several theories of the maximum possible temperature. Maybe it's the Planck temperature, 10^32 K, beyond which the known laws of physics break down. Or maybe just 10^30 K, the limit of some versions of string theory. If space is actually 11-dimensional then the maximum temperature could even be as low as 10^17 K, attainable by the Large Hadron Collider. Or maybe infinite temperature wraps around to negative temperature and absolute hot is the same as absolute cold."
Link to Original Source
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Predicting the Future Through Advertisements

AlpineR AlpineR writes  |  more than 7 years ago

AlpineR writes "Two weeks ago Computerworld ran an article about quaint advertisements from years past and the story was discussed on Slashdot. While leafing through a paper magazine today, I realized that if we know which ads from the past have become humorously outdated then maybe we can look at today's ads and imagine which modern technologies will be considered archaic in the future. What advertisement do you think screams 'Way back in 2007...' and what will replaced it in coming decades?"
Link to Original Source
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AlpineR AlpineR writes  |  more than 7 years ago

AlpineR writes "Apple announced today that the release of OS X 10.5 Leopard has slipped from June to October. Apparently the development of the iPhone took attention away from the engineering and testing of Leopard. Too bad, I was looking forward to features like Spaces and Time Machine. At least it's sort of good news for Apple — the better their non-computer business does the less likely that the company as a whole will die."

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