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Comments

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SpaceX Executive Calls For $22-25 Billion NASA Budget

ClickOnThis Re:National Academy of Sciences Says ... (112 comments)

We went from launching our first satellite on January 31st 1958 to landing a man on the Moon on July 20th 1969.

Don't tell me what we can and can't do based on not having the properly trained workforce. We have brilliant people at NASA and America's private space companies.

With all due props to USA-trained contributors to Apollo and its predecessors, it's worth noting that many of the contributors came from outside the USA, particularly from Canada and the United Kingdom.

That said, I agree with your point: you don't need to wait more than a generation to find the talent you need to achieve great things in space.

2 days ago
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Google Looking To Define a Healthy Human

ClickOnThis Re:Reality is... (125 comments)

I don't think the concept of single-payer healthcare is a bad one; however I do not believe the current implementation is an effective system that's not designed to bilk average Americans out of money for the benefit of insurance execs and the Congresscritters who love them.

Glad to hear you support a single-payer system. However, the "current implementation" of the ACA is not a single-payer system. It is a government-managed marketplace, with private insurance companies providing the coverage.

If the ACA truly were a single-payer system (like Medicare is) it would be far more effective at protecting average Americans from being bilked by "insurance execs and the Congresscritters who love them."

4 days ago
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The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

ClickOnThis Re: Pft (960 comments)

Freedom of speech.

Irrelevant in this context.

The first amendment protects you and me from the government. It does not protect you and me from each other.

If a private enterprise (DOTA2, Steam, Origin, whatever) wishes to curtail expression within their own domain, they're perfectly entitled to do so. There are valid exceptions to free-speech protections (e.g., restaurants can't refuse service based or race or sexual orientation of patrons) but none apply to the current discussion.

about a week ago
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Favorite "Go!" Phrase?

ClickOnThis Re:Adam West (701 comments)

Actually it was Robin (played by Burt Ward) who had the "atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed" line.

about two weeks ago
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White House Approves Sonic Cannons For Atlantic Energy Exploration

ClickOnThis Re:Other loud noises (272 comments)

These are very interesting and informative numbers, but can you cite some sources for them? A sincere question.

about two weeks ago
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The Last Three Months Were the Hottest Quarter On Record

ClickOnThis Re:But its cooler here... (552 comments)

He does parody stuff, illustrating the logical failings of those who oppose his view

Rush has plenty of, uh, "logical failings" of his own. See below.

All you got to do is go back and read his books and listen to him for a few hours to know that he hasn't changed all that much....

Right, let's talk about his books.

In one, he tells people to stop worrying about the ozone layer because "the Sun makes ozone." A half-truth: yes, the Sun does make ozone, but it can't make it fast enough to overcome the destruction of ozone by CFCs.

Another similar fallacy: he says there are more trees in the USA now than when the first settlers arrived, so stop worrying about trees. I don't know, maybe that's true, but he ignores the fact that we are cutting these trees down at a much higher rate than the settlers ever did. Forestry management is about ensuring rates of growth are higher than rates of depletion, not how many trees you have at any moment.

I agree that Rush hasn't changed all that much. And he's still wrong.

about two weeks ago
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How a Supercomputer Beat the Scrap Heap and Lived On To Retire In Africa

ClickOnThis Re:Nice (145 comments)

+5 funny, but alas, you were a bit too subtle. Let me help:

I'd make a CDC-6600 into my home, just for fun.

about two weeks ago
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How a Supercomputer Beat the Scrap Heap and Lived On To Retire In Africa

ClickOnThis Re: Really now (145 comments)

Many of the fields of study we now use as the backbone of the modern era started out as mere intellectual curiosities, and often stayed that way for centuries until practical applications were invented. Scientists started seriously studying electricity in the 1600s, but we found few practical uses for it until the late 19th century. The scientists studying theoretical physics and astronomy today are no different than the likes of Michael Faraday, who never created useful inventions from his research in electricity.

This in spades.

One of my favorite Michael Faraday stories (of which there are variants) is a visit to his lab by Prime Minister Robert Peel, during which Peel asked "what use is electricity?" Faraday replied "what use is a new-born baby?"

about two weeks ago
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How a Supercomputer Beat the Scrap Heap and Lived On To Retire In Africa

ClickOnThis Re:And why not (145 comments)

To say nothing of the value of having their own computing resources for research, available locally. Internet access to remote supercomputers is certainly helpful, but having a machine in the next room is a big boost for their industry and academia.

about two weeks ago
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How a Supercomputer Beat the Scrap Heap and Lived On To Retire In Africa

ClickOnThis Re:Nice (145 comments)

You could probably just emulate it on your phone.

Given that there were only about 100 CDC 6600s ever built, you might just be able to emulate all of them on your phone.

about two weeks ago
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Finnish National TV Broadcaster Starts Sending Bitcoin Blockchain

ClickOnThis Re:now you lose even more money on bc (73 comments)

I think we agree (mostly.)

Note that I was referring to "a fluid economy with lots of buyers and sellers to encourage fairness." I didn't mean that liquidity leads to fairness, rather that fairness can flourish only in an environment of liquidity, i.e., one with numerous players who aspire to fairness, but who are motivated to pursue it by the presence of their fellow players.

To put it another way, even the noblest among us can be corrupted, but it's harder to succumb to such corruption when others are watching and keeping us honest.

about two weeks ago
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Finnish National TV Broadcaster Starts Sending Bitcoin Blockchain

ClickOnThis Re:now you lose even more money on bc (73 comments)

Your post is insightful and deserves modding up. However, I respectfully disagree with you and AC on whether Bitcoins have value. I claim they do.

IANAE, but it's my understanding that the intrinsic value of money is determined by what a buyer and a seller agree it's worth as payment for something, in a fluid economy with lots of buyers and sellers to encourage fairness. The Bitcoin network provides an infrastructure for transactions in such an economy. But without Bitcoins, you can't participate in it. So, I would say Bitcoins do have value, and they have that value because of the existence of the Bitcoin network. But to say that the network itself has the value in question is to overload the definition of value. At the risk of misusing terms of economics (again, IANAE) I'd say the network has utility (because it offers satisfaction in the use of Bitcoins) but not value.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Switching From SAS To Python Or R For Data Analysis and Modeling?

ClickOnThis Re:R... (143 comments)

C is most certainly a low-level programming language. There's a reason people call it "portable assembly language".

"Portable assembly language" is an oxymoron. And I have never heard anyone use that phrase to describe C.

Of course, as with almost all programming languages, people build useful abstractions in C to bridge the gap somewhat. But that doesn't make C itself a high-level language, any more so than does the use of functions and macros to increase the expressive power of an assembly language.

Never mind building abstractions. The C language itself is a significant abstraction from the machine level. Only a small handful of operators and constructs in C have a close analogue to assembler statements (e.g., accumulation, shift and bitwise logical operators.) Therefore I maintain that it is not a low-level language.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Switching From SAS To Python Or R For Data Analysis and Modeling?

ClickOnThis Re:R... (143 comments)

C-x M-c M-butterfly.

The best way to program for sure.

Madame butterfly?

No, it's a reference to this.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Switching From SAS To Python Or R For Data Analysis and Modeling?

ClickOnThis Re:R... (143 comments)

[...] as opposed to C which is a low-level programming language.

Assembler is a low-level programming language.

Machine language is a low-level programming language.

C is not a low-level programming language, although you can do low-level programming with it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L...

about a month ago
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Philips Ethernet-Powered Lighting Transmits Data To Mobile Devices Via Light

ClickOnThis Re:How about no? (104 comments)

Q: How many hardware engineers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: None. We tell the software engineers to patch around it.

about a month ago
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Philips Ethernet-Powered Lighting Transmits Data To Mobile Devices Via Light

ClickOnThis My evil plan (104 comments)

Hemisphere-wide communication by strobing The Sun!! Mwahahahahaha...

Of course, the latency sucks (9 min both ways) but I'm working on it.

'Scuse me, I'm off to Kickstarter...

about a month ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

ClickOnThis Re:Can an "atheist company" refuse too? (1330 comments)

you should learn to read
SCOTUS specifically said it has to be a closely knit ownership structure with a history of religious beliefs against abortion

just like aereo, this is a narrow ruling

It seems to me that companies owned by Scientology members can now opt-out of health insurance plans that include psychiatric treatments.

Or companies owned by Jehova's Witnesses can opt-out of health-insurance plans that include blood transfusions.

Or companies owned by Orthodox Jews can opt-out of plans that include medications derived from pork products.

Or companies owned by Hindus can opt-out of plans that include health products derived from cows.

We all want our friends and neighbors to have religious freedom. But when they become our employers, shouldn't there be a limit to their expression of it when it affects our access to health care?

about a month ago

Submissions

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Giving a voice to ALS patients

ClickOnThis ClickOnThis writes  |  about 5 months ago

ClickOnThis (137803) writes "We are all familiar with the speech synthesizer used by Stephen Hawking, famous physicist and ALS patient. He has heard the synthesizer's accent described as Scandinavian, American or Scottish although he has learned to identify with it. But what if an ALS patient could speak with her/his own voice? Former helicopter mechanic and now ALS patient Cal Moore can do just that. Moore, with the help of speech pathologist Roberta Kelley at Seattle's Virginia Mason Hospital, began recording his own voice years ago, before the disease began to affect his speech. He can play back, in his own voice, phrases such as "I feel tired", "You know what? Your driving sucks" and others. The process, known as voice-banking, was invented by speech pathologist John Costello at Boston Children's Hospital. Granted, it's not exactly a synthesizer, and obviously it requires sampling of the patient's unaffected voice in advance. But couldn't this be a precursor to other technologies that could synthesize arbitrary phrases in a patient's own voice, from pre-sampled phonemes?"
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Programmer Outsources His Own Job to China

ClickOnThis ClickOnThis writes  |  about a year and a half ago

ClickOnThis (137803) writes "A USA-based programmer with Verizon oursourced his own job to a third-party contractor in Shenyang, China. He got away with the ruse for months until Verizon became suspicious of the traffic on his home-office VPN, and noticed that his in-office activities were perfunctory. From the article: "[T]he employee — identified only as “Bob” — used his 9-to-5 hours to peruse Reddit, watch cat videos, update his Facebook profile and shop on eBay." He paid the contractor $50,000 of his six-figure salary annually, and pocketed the difference. What is particularly irksome is that many blog posts on the Verizon website are praising him for his "business savvy.""
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Laser Technology May Reduce Military Friendly-Fire

ClickOnThis ClickOnThis writes  |  about 2 years ago

ClickOnThis (137803) writes "CNN has a story on the use of laser-based identification technologies to reduce friendly-fire incidents. From the article: 'The DCID-TALON works when its user spots a target in his or her scope. The shooter aims the device, which sends an encoded message by laser beam. If the target is friendly, the message will reflect off of the target’s retroreflectors (they are the size of a postage stamp and can be embedded in the soldier’s helmet and uniform; each soldier would be outfitted with multiple retroreflectors), and the device will display the word "friend."'"
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Nokia: Linux Needs to Learn Business

ClickOnThis ClickOnThis writes  |  more than 6 years ago

ClickOnThis (137803) writes "BusinessWeek.com has an article on a speech given by Dr. Ari Jaaksi, VP of Nokia, at the Handset World conference. He claimed open-source software developers need to be "educated" on how the mobile industry works, particularly on the "business rules" that they need to obey, which include embracing "DRM, IPR [intellectual property rights], SIM locks and subsidised business models." From the article: "Why do we need closed vehicles? We do," he said. "Some of these things harm the industry but they're here [as things stand]. These are touchy, emotional issues but this dialogue is very much needed. As an industry, we plan to use open-source technologies but we are not yet ready to play by the rules; but this needs to work the other way round too." There is also some discussion about Maemo, the Linux OS that runs on Nokia's N800-series tablets, as well as Nokia's recent acquisition of Trolltech (makers of the Qt widget kit) and possible consequences for the mobile application market."
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Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" [rev

ClickOnThis ClickOnThis writes  |  more than 6 years ago

ClickOnThis (137803) writes "[a few corrections and additions...]

Candidates I'd like to see on Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice"

OJ Simpson
Jenna Jameson
Richard Stallman
Kevin Mitnick
Alberto Gonzales
Uwe Boll
Hello Kitty Robo
The "Duke Nukem Forever" development team
A Beowulf cluster of Cowboy Neals"
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Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice"

ClickOnThis ClickOnThis writes  |  more than 6 years ago

ClickOnThis (137803) writes "People I'd like to see on Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice"

OJ Simpson
Jenna Jameson
Richard Stallman
Alberto Gonzales
Uwe Boll
Hello Kitty Robo
The "Duke Nukem Forever" development team
A Beowulf cluster of Cowboy Neals"
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FCC opens door for US media consolidation

ClickOnThis ClickOnThis writes  |  more than 6 years ago

ClickOnThis (137803) writes "The Guardian has a story about Tuesday's 3-2 vote by the FCC in the USA to relax significantly the media ownership rules set in 1975. These rules were put in place to prevent a single individual or company from controlling too many sources of information in a city. Critics are understandably concerned with the effects of such consolidation on minority businesses and the public interest, not to mention the suppression of dissenting viewpoints. Of particular concern is the Commission's decision to have a short 30-day period for public comment, instead of the usual 90 days. From the article: '"The agency has treated the public like children allowed to visit the cockpit on an airliner," Democratic commissioner Michael Copps said, "not allowed to fly the plane but allowed a brief false moment to believe they are".' Curiously, the story has had no discernable coverage in the US media. One wonders why..."
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OpenOffice 2.3 released

ClickOnThis ClickOnThis writes  |  more than 6 years ago

ClickOnThis (137803) writes "Surely I'm not the only one who noticed that OpenOffice.org has announced the release of version 2.3. From the website: "Available for download now, OpenOffice.org 2.3 incorporates an extensive array of new features and enhancements to all its core components, and protects users from newly discovered security vulnerabilities. It is a major release and all users should download it. Plus: It is only with 2.3 that users can make full use of our growing extensions library." You can download it but be kind and use a P2P client instead, such as bittorrent."
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ClickOnThis ClickOnThis writes  |  more than 7 years ago

ClickOnThis (137803) writes "CNN reports that the space shuttle Discovery will be launched on December 6, in part to avoid concerns about operating the shuttle through midnight on New Year's Eve. From the article: The worry is that shuttle computers aren't designed to make the change from the 365th day of the old year to the first day of the new year while in flight. NASA has never had a shuttle in space December 31 or January 1. "We've just never had the computers up and going when we've transitioned from one year to another," said Discovery astronaut Joan Higginbotham. "We're not really sure how they're going to operate." The article goes on to explain that the decision was simply one of prudence, because the shuttle hasn't been certified to fly in that time period."
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ClickOnThis ClickOnThis writes  |  more than 7 years ago

ClickOnThis (137803) writes "CNN reports that Intel and the University of California, Santa Barbara have announced the development of a hybrid silicon laser that could lead to dramatic improvements in the speed and cost of computer systems and data networks. From the article: "The development makes it possible to use laser light rather than wires to send data between chips, addressing one of the major hurdles in advancing the use of so-called "silicon photonics" in computers and data centers". The press release on the Intel website has additional details."

Journals

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ClickOnThis ClickOnThis writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Electronic voting machines have been an incendiary topic on Slashdot for a very long time, and for good reason. Software errors, cheesy hardware, political patronage to put them in place, strong-arm tactics by the manufacturers to cover up flaws, not to mention the impossibility of verifying results...there's not much to like. And it seems that any technically-minded person is (rightly) well aware of the vulnerabilities of e-voting, and is unequivocally in favor of a paper trail to verify voter intent.

Obviously I come to bury e-voting, not to praise it. But there is something that continues to trouble me as very strange: the consistent reports of unreliability in the software that runs these machines. How can it be that difficult to write software that simply counts votes? It seems like a straightforward exercise in software engineering. Yet the problems with voting machines appear to be far out of proportion to their inherent technical simplicity.

Only for the sake of argument, let's ask: are the programmers that write this software blissfully incompetent, brazenly reckless or have they embraced a covenant that is unwholsomely against the mainstream of democracy? I can't accept any of the above as true. So, what's going on? Are these machines (or the process that manufactures them) "broken by design", and if so, why?

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