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Secret Service Critics Pounce After White House Breach

Dzimas Re: Everything is an excuse for more security thea (221 comments)

"Paying down the deficit" doesn't mean what you think it means. A budget deficit = spending more revenue than you take in during the year. Its the equivalent of adding another $200 billion to your $17.6 trillion credit card balance every year. Of course, unlike the average consumer, the government has the power to raise their own credit limit and print money to pay the monthly interest payment.

2 days ago

Deadmau5 Accuses Disney of Pirating His Music

Dzimas Re: This is what the US has become (137 comments)

The trouble is that Disney will argue that the proposed Deadmau5 trademark is in their line of business - videos and the music industry. At the end of the day, you have to acknowledge that there is considerable similarity between the Mickey's silhouette and the Deadmau5 head. Whether the similarities are close enough to cause confusion in the marketplace is at the heart of this complaint. There is another factor at play, too. If it can be shown that then trade dress is genericized -- that is, consumers don't automatically relate the mouse silhouette to Mickey, it may be possible to invalidate Disney trademarks. The result would be a free-for-all that would allow companies to offer their own bigeared mouse characters in the US. (The DMCA takedown complaint is a different animal that's not directly related to the trademark challenge, unless Disney is planning to claim that they couldn't see the difference and believed that Mickey and the stage outfit of an EDM producer).

about two weeks ago

In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment For a Novelist

Dzimas Re:There's always a possibility of mental illness. (441 comments)

Yes. That's why he was nominated to Teacher of the Year.

Mental illness isn't something that manifests itself consistently from birth to death. It is quite possible to live an utterly normal or remarkable life until the onset of disease. In the case of schizophrenia, it usually rears its ugly head some time between the ages of 16 and 30.

While it is quite possible that this is an instance of police overreaction, it might also be that there are a serious mental health issue that cannot be shared with the general public because of personal privacy laws.

about three weeks ago

In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment For a Novelist

Dzimas There's always a possibility of mental illness. (441 comments)

Hang on. Everyone is jumping to the conclusion that a perfectly normal teacher just happened to be grabbed and taken for an "emergency medical evaluation" because he had innocently written a book. It is also quite possible that he is actually suffering from mental illness -- schizophrenia often manifests itself in early adulthood, for example -- and that his books were originally written as a coping mechanism for the early stages of illness. Remember, approximately 1% of the population will suffer from schizotypal symptoms at some point in their lives.

The most likely explanation is that the teacher's behavior had grown erratic and he had shown signs of mental disorder that caused grave concern in his co-workers and friends.

about three weeks ago

XKCD Author's Unpublished Book Remains a Best-Seller For 5 Months

Dzimas Affiliate link in the submitter's blog (169 comments)

The summary includes a link to the submitter's blog, with a shortened link -- -- that expands to an Amazon link with his affiliate code embedded. While I am a huge fan of XKCD, I am not a huge fan of masked links that earn up to 8% for completely unrelated bloggers. Perhaps the summary should be edited to include a direct link to the Amazon product page?

about three weeks ago

Princeton Nuclear Fusion Reactor Will Run Again

Dzimas Re: Spherical Torus (147 comments)

Scientific breakthroughs don't occur on a set timeline unless you're writing a TV show. We've been "flying" in one form or another for hundreds of years - balloons, gliders, and -- with the advent of the internal combustion engine -- airplanes. One could argue that nuclear physics is significantly more challenging than achieving powered flight. After all, a reasonably competent amateur can build an aircraft -- -- in his garage over a couple of years. The same can't be said for processing fissile materials and building a research reactor.

about a month ago

NRC Analyst Calls To Close Diablo Canyon, CA's Last Remaining Nuclear Plant

Dzimas Re:In other news... (216 comments)

Solar doesn't provide energy in the evening or nighttime, wind is unpredictable and hydro involves environmentally damaging waterway modifications. The end result is that fossil fuels and nuclear will always have a place on the grid.

The worst thing we could possibly do is to start installing solar cells on each individual house, while trying to maintain our current consumption. The challenge is that there is a profitable multi-billion dollar market selling grid-tied personal solar and wind power systems to millions of eager Americans, but that approach would be woefully inefficient (several thousand dollars worth of electrical hardware installed in each house across the nation, a glut of home-generated electricity during the day as everyone attempts to sell surplus back to the grid).

Instead, it's time to look at how we're using electricity. Stop building chipboard McMansions that require excessive A/C and heating. Increase the energy efficiency of appliances. Try living in smaller spaces. Discourage people from trying to build cities in the middle of scorching hot deserts, And so on.

about a month ago

Getting IT Talent In Government Will Take Culture Change, Says Google Engineer

Dzimas Re:Maybe the Prez (166 comments)

Here's a photo taken today of the President at Martha's Vineyard. It's not exactly a job you can walk away from:

about a month ago

Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

Dzimas Re: Automated notice not necessary here (368 comments)

Actually, it makes no sense to have different recording laws at the state level, nor should "state meddling" supercede "federal meddling."

about a month and a half ago

Gas Cooled Reactors Shut Down In UK

Dzimas Re:energy production is for niggers (120 comments)

See? This is what happens when an infinite number of monkeys sit down at an infinite number of typewriters to write an infinite number of masterpieces. It reads like an ode to Tourette's Syndrome.

about a month and a half ago

Silicon Valley Doesn't Have an Attitude Problem, OK?

Dzimas Re:Steve Jobs set the standard... (262 comments)

The best hire I ever made was someone that a senior VP disagreed with me about during and after the interview. I saw the skill set and personality that was needed for our team and he didn't. Fast forward 10 years, and I found myself approaching the person I'd hired for funding to keep my little startup alive and allow it to prosper. Because I had treated that employee well, we were able to hammer out the framework of an agreement at our first formal meeting. It was the easiest pitch that either of us had ever been through. Behaving like a tantruming child simply because you have money and the illusion of power is the stupidest approach if you plan on being in tech for the long haul. Sooner or later, someone you've trampled or angered *will* be in a position to give a less-than-flattering opinion of you or shut you out.

about a month and a half ago

Parallax Completes Open Hardware Vision With Open Source CPU

Dzimas Limited utility. (136 comments)

I run a company that releases all its hardware designs and am a huge proponent of OSHW. This gesture has limited utility simply because the people who use MCUs in designs aren't typically interested in delving into the minutiae of how the processor that runs the system is built. They're more interested in open source circuits which have real-world applications -- a low pass filter for smoothing PWM signals, a nice clean USB power supply, and so on.

about a month and a half ago

PlayStation Now, Sony's 'Netflix For Games' -- Pros and Cons

Dzimas To summarize... (75 comments)

"But the expense of using the service is excessive, blah blah" = "It costs too much."

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

Dzimas Re:They need exactly 63 999 employees (272 comments)

They need exactly 63 999 employees

You must work in the marketing department of a hard drive company.

about 2 months ago

BlackBerry's Innovation: Square-Screened Smartphones

Dzimas This is the third Blackberry with a square screen. (139 comments)

Both the Q5 and Q10 phones already have square screens, although they're extremely small because both units have kept the physical keyboard and traditional rectangular shape.

about 2 months ago

Nathan Myhrvold's Recipe For a Better Oven

Dzimas Re:Who cooks at 800C ? (228 comments)

Lead melts at 327.5 degrees, zinc melts at 319.5 degrees, tin a bit less than that. You could have some serious metalworking fun in the kitchen -- get it up to 1200 degrees and you could liquify gold, silver and even copper. I seriously hope that the numbers in the summary were just an awkward conversion error, because the notion of your very own kitchen smelter is terrifying.

about 3 months ago

Bye Bye Aereo, For Now

Dzimas Re:They where acting like the cable co / CATV (93 comments)

Why should anyone pay a fee to re-transmit free-to-air TV signals? I understand that cable channels rely on subscription fees to stay in business, but we're talking about the major networks - ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and PBS - that are broadcast across 94% of the United States at no charge.

about 3 months ago

NRC Human Spaceflight Report Says NASA Strategy Can't Get Humans To Mars

Dzimas Re:Why should we care? (206 comments)

A politician's speech is the best you can come up with to explain why we need to reach Mars? Oh, my. JFK was all hot and bothered to reach the moon because it would upstage the Soviets, not because it was a noble or even sensible endeavor. There are a number of good reasons why a mission to mars would be desirable: (1) it requires the development of long-range manned spacecraft, (2) it gets us out of low earth orbit, (3) (in the long term) it encourages the development of new forms of long-range propulsion and an important emphasis on interplanetary life support systems. I could scrawl down a few dozen more, but the *important* bit is that it encourages us to make tentative steps into the larger solar system. And -- once we can reach other planets and moons -- perhaps there's an economic opportunity to be found that drives further advances.

about 4 months ago

A Measure of Your Team's Health: How You Treat Your "Idiot"

Dzimas Re:Sometimes the "idiot" isn't the problem. (255 comments)

Yes, of course I presented the user feedback as you suggest. I also provided solid use cases to illustrate how things didn't match the way their business works and what could be done to dramatically improve it. The problem was simply that the project manager had chosen to build a technical house of cards and didn't have the budget or time to change course. When faced with clear evidence that the system simply didn't work for clients, the easiest response was to discredit and kill the messenger. That only preserves the status quo for a short while, though. In this company's case, it was a matter of about 8 more weeks before an executive review killed the project and eventually the entire division.

about 4 months ago


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