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Calculus Textbook Author James Stewart Has Died

Irate Engineer Re:What are the implications for the textbook mark (165 comments)

Agreed, but I actually don't get paid to publish. I am at a teaching college, and I teach a very full load plus do a number of administrative duties.

Your idea is good, but the unfortunate thing is that anyone who puts that much effort into writing a text is eventually drawn to trying to monetizing it, either themselves or by the institution itself. Also, many accreditation organizations want to see mainstream textbooks used. Nothing technically says you need these books, but things suddenly get difficult during accreditation when they start seeing locally published texts on display. Same with printing off a text from 1920 - completely usable and accurate text, but try to defend the use of a century old text when new textbooks are available? Do you want to risk your program's accreditation because of that?

And this is before all the bullshit you need to wade through with the school bookstore trying to turn a buck. I got yelled at for recommending to my students to buy the course text online vs. going through the bookstore ($40-$60 bucks vs $250 at the bookstore for the same text).

College isn't about learning anymore, it's all about making money.

yesterday
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The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

Irate Engineer Define "Artificial"? (360 comments)

So the intelligent product of another form of intelligence is "artificial"? What if they created organic creatures with brains and hearts instead of cyborgs?

If so, I really hope the dominant life form is Number Six from BSG myself.

I, for one, welcome our frikkin' hot cylon overlords.

yesterday
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NASA Video Shows What It's Like To Reenter the Earth's Atmosphere

Irate Engineer Re:Re-entry is done wrong (72 comments)

Because you have a metric fuckton of kinetic and potential energy to dissipate? You're coming in at 20,000 mph at an altitude of 400,000 ft. 10 minutes later you are splashing down gently at 0 ft MSL and walking velocity. Go take a nice physics class and do the math.

yesterday
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Calculus Textbook Author James Stewart Has Died

Irate Engineer Re:What are the implications for the textbook mark (165 comments)

rewrite only one chapter in any significant way (or simply add a new chapter somewhere), and then move back to the standard "renumber the pages and exercises" for subsequent "revised" editions.

Rewrite? As in actually revise the text? No way.

I teach out of a thermodynamics text that gets churned every year or so. Never mind that engineering thermodynamics hasn't changed a whit in about a century, but the homework problems get reshuffled. Once in a while they'll actually try to rewrite some of the homework problems, mangling them badly. I redo all of the problems to ensure that the solutions are actually correct (many are not). I'm actually writing many of my own homework problems now and allowing students to purchase any edition of the text that they can find (as the 3rd edition is effectively as good as the 8th edition as far as being a reference to solve problems).

It's pissing me and the students off because they really do need to have a text. However, this churning bullshit and jacking up of prices is actually causing some of the students to try to wing it through the class without a text, which is not going to end well They do need a basic reference for exams and practical problems. But they could probably do fine with a text from 1920 if they were comfortable using it.

Textbook publishers are right up there with advertisers and telephone sanitizers. Shoot the bastards into space and be done with them.

yesterday
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NASA Video Shows What It's Like To Reenter the Earth's Atmosphere

Irate Engineer Re:Parachute Reefing (72 comments)

Barely.

yesterday
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NASA Video Shows What It's Like To Reenter the Earth's Atmosphere

Irate Engineer Parachute Reefing (72 comments)

Sliders are not utilized on these parachutes. A reefing line, basically a circular cord holding the skirt of the parachute closed, is cut after a predetermined delay using small timed pyrotechnic cutting charges. These are designed to keep the parachute from overpressurizing and blowing out during high-velocity opening. FYI - I was a parachute & survival equipment specialist in the USAF.

yesterday
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Marissa Mayer's Reinvention of Yahoo! Stumbles

Irate Engineer Re:Missed the Boat by about 15 years (219 comments)

OK, count me as being poorly informed. Maybe Yahoo is awesome in niche markets. The analogy that forms in my mind is that Yahoo is the pimply-faced wimp that wants to play against the big hitters on the football field. Maybe if they just stuck with being the chess club champion, they might do well.

One great part about rebranding yourself is that you get to choose your market. They should probably choose a market where they are dominant and simply accept that they are not going to be Google (for now, at least). But of course the shareholders want more bigger growth, so downshifting is not an option.

I think Marissa should start packing a golden parachute for herself. The ground is coming up rapidly, I think.

yesterday
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Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

Irate Engineer Re:State Run Liquor Stores in New Hampshire (462 comments)

The average Joe looking for a case of beer isn't going to bother.

I actually have to qualify this; the NH Liquor stores don't sell beer, but there are a lot of package stores also right across the state border that do. They certainly pull beer business from Massachusetts.

yesterday
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Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

Irate Engineer State Run Liquor Stores in New Hampshire (462 comments)

For crying out loud, the NH State Liquor Commission actually operates liquor stores just across the Massachusetts border, no sales tax. Most of that liquor rides north to the White Mountains, but a lot of it goes right back to Massachusetts.

I'd bet the Massachusetts AG would love to sue NH for this to recover the sales tax losses. In practice, this caused Massachusetts to repeal blue laws, so you can now buy liquor and beer in many stores on Sundays. You'd really have to be buying high shelf stuff to warrant a special trip to NH for it to be worth the effort, so the situation has stabilized. The average Joe looking for a case of beer isn't going to bother.

yesterday
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Marissa Mayer's Reinvention of Yahoo! Stumbles

Irate Engineer Re:Core business? (219 comments)

Yeah, but you can actually setup multiple disposable GMail accounts now, so Google is even whittling away at that.

My yahoo account is from the 1990s, and I still have it because I'm lazy, it does what I need it to do (it's a legit email address, that's all that can be said about it), and I'm not liable to inadvertently confuse it with my "good" GMail account, so it is what I give out online.

If Yahoo evaporated in a puff of smoke tomorrow I'd probably miss it for all 5 minutes it would take to setup a GMail throwaway. And nothing of value would be lost

2 days ago
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Marissa Mayer's Reinvention of Yahoo! Stumbles

Irate Engineer Missed the Boat by about 15 years (219 comments)

Yahoo missed the boat about 10 years ago. It can't even do web email properly anymore. I have a Yahoo throwaway account, and the system is so broken that I rarely check in on it. It's right up there with AOL; it shouldn't have survived Y2K, but somehow it is still here, twitching and gasping

Marissa Mayer may or may not be very capable, but it hardly matters. Trying to get Yahoo to compete in online services and products in this day and age, starting from where Yahoo stagnated in the late 1990s, ain't going to happen. Frankly I think the best use of her time would be to start folding up the tables and chairs, turn off the lights, close up shop and sell off the company.

2 days ago
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Did Alcatraz Escapees Survive? Computer Program Says They Might Have

Irate Engineer 11:30 AM? (87 comments)

So these guys jumped into a rubber raft on a June day and paddled across the bay at nearly HIGH NOON? Kinda conspicuous, don't you think? Unless it was foggy as all hell, which is definitely possible.

2 days ago
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Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

Irate Engineer Re:Hyperbole Much? (580 comments)

To be fair, that happened in small-town Canada 45 years ago too.

True. And it happened in the U.S. and other places as well. But we had a sense of perspective back then and took it for what it was.

These days? Odds are that it would make national news, and to the fill the void of information the pundits would argue whether it was terrorism, a disturbed child, etc.. and sit and argue that everyone is a potential terrorist or disturbed child (or both!). We must be vigilant! More police, cameras, and surveillance could have prevented all this. And so it spins.

It's the lack of perspective that is killing us. Terrorism isn't much more of a threat these days than it was 10, 20, 30 years ago. Your odds of being injured or dying in a terrorist act in a theater are much lower than the odds of dying on the car ride to that theater. But the lack of perspective, perpetually seeing small town fake threats tossed up on the national news, gives people the impression that there is a bomb in every trash can and a terrorist at every bus stop. And the government has capitalized on this fear to curtail our freedoms.

2 days ago
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Google Proposes To Warn People About Non-SSL Web Sites

Irate Engineer Blockages, Warning Signs, Slow Traffic (391 comments)

So much for the 'information superhighway'.

I have to have an adblocker running just to keep my browser from turning into a scene of Times Square on a bad acid trip, even on reputable sites which brings the page load to a crawl. Most browsers have some warning for this or that, little green or red padlocks, etc.. Everything might be unsafe, click at your own risk!

If I were a pilot and there were the same number of warnings and blinking lights flashing in the cockpit I probably would have bailed out long ago.

On one extreme you could lock your browser down so hard that there would be little point to attempting to connect to the internet, you'd never get anywhere. On the other you could strip away all of the protections and get pwned in a heartbeat (or maybe not).

I'm not an IT professional by any means, but the current state of the internet is a discordant mess of virtual business fronts and libraries all facing a street prowled by every type of criminal and depraved individual imaginable (and a few that you can't imagine). Have a nice walk down Main St., if you dare!

If we could at least have a secure Main Street, and leave everyone free to go to the seedier side of town if they wish, wouldn't that be great? I'm not sure whether this is technologically achievable. I have to say things are not working well and I sometimes think that the Internet has jumped the shark and it can't last in this state. It's becoming less safe and usable by the day.

2 days ago
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Google Proposes To Warn People About Non-SSL Web Sites

Irate Engineer Re:503 (391 comments)

Same here.

2 days ago
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Navy Develops a Shark Drone For Surveillance

Irate Engineer Re:FFS (45 comments)

You're assuming that the "editors" are actually reading this stuff before passing it on.

2 days ago
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Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

Irate Engineer Hyperbole Much? (580 comments)

'9/11 style attacks'? So if these movies are screened, attackers will sneak in, fueled up with convenience-store-bought Raisinets and armed with box knives? Or are they going to crash an airliner into each theater?

We've become a nation where a college kid wishing to avoid a final exam can call in a bomb threat to close a campus. All threats, however implausible, must be taken seriously, just in case it truly is a real threat and an attack occurs. 99.999% of the time the threat is bogus, but if one doesn't act hysterically and it turns out to be the 0.001% situation, you're screwed (more likely by lawyers after the fact, not so much by the attack itself).

By caving to the threat, they are validating the use of this strategy, and are ensuring that they will get more threats like this in the future. It works.

3 days ago
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Snowden Leaks Prompt Internet Users Worldwide To Protect Their Data

Irate Engineer Re:If "Steps" are Facebook Privacy Controls... (53 comments)

YESSH!!!! I got modded Troll! Boooyahh! *Really*? Did you Facebook fanbois actually read what I posted, or did your lips get tired after the first sentence? No troll here folks. Just the truth.

4 days ago

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