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Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

JanneM Re:Nothing really new (712 comments)

The Pitapa card in Kansai is connected to your account, and deducts money automatically every month. You can use it in convenience stores and vending machines around Osaka and Kansai. And in order to be compatible with Suica and other train passes, you can _also_ add money to the card; that's effectively a second, separate prepaid card. Convenient when you're travelling to Tokyo.
 

4 days ago
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Stem Cells Grown From Patient's Arm Used To Replace Retina

JanneM Re:One thing missing (56 comments)

So is the answer "No" she cannot see? And where did you get the safety and viability quote from?

Japanese media reported about this earlier this year when they decided to try this and were looking for volunteer patients, as well as now when they want ahead with it. It was made very clear from the start that this was a procedure to test if the cells would survive and not cause any unwanted side effects.

Kind of the same as with the man who got some feeling back in his legs after a stem cell treatment in Poland the other day. They did not expect to see significant improvement (and the other three patients had much less or no effect at all), but just to confirm that it was possible and didn't make things worse.

5 days ago
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Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

JanneM Re:Nothing really new (712 comments)

The streets are very safe, and cash is accepted everywhere. A credit card, on the other hand, needs approval, has a yearly cost, and adds a charge to each transaction. People do use cards here - most people pay public transport with a card, and you can use those on vending machines and the like too - but credit cards specifically haven't really caught on.

5 days ago
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Stem Cells Grown From Patient's Arm Used To Replace Retina

JanneM Re:One thing missing (56 comments)

The purpose of this round of tests is to assess the safety and viability of the procedure. There is no expectation that she will substantially improve her sight. That's a major reason they selected a volunteer her 70's for this, not somebody young.

5 days ago
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Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

JanneM Nothing really new (712 comments)

Plenty of cheaper restaurants here in Japan - chain izakayas especially - have used terminals for ordering for years already. And while they certainly do it in part to reduce staff, the fact is that many customers like it. You don't have to flag down a waiter to place an order, and you can always see exactly what you've ordered, what dishes you've yet to receive and your current tab.

Also, the basic truth is that if your job can be automated, no wage level will compete with it in the long run. If you accept wage cuts to avoid being replaced by automation, you've only bought yourself a few years, and at a lower salary than you're worth at that.

5 days ago
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German Publishers Capitulate, Let Google Post News Snippets

JanneM Re:I believe the actual concern is... (95 comments)

Newspaper articles are written so that all the most important information is set right at the beginning. That makes them faster and easier to read, especially if you want to skim through a lot of news. So yes, a snippet of the first paragraph or two most likely does contain most of the important information, because it's written with the readers in mind, not the advertisers or google bots.

about a week ago
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Fighting the Culture of 'Worse Is Better'

JanneM Re:Huh (240 comments)

> This is why we are still waiting for Perl 6, if it ever gets released.

I suspect in the case of Perl 6 (and perhaps also for Python) it may have been better to give the language a new name, and allow even more radical changes. Keeping the name strongly signals that it's still the same language. Breaking compatibility is exactly what makes it a different one.

about two weeks ago
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Fighting the Culture of 'Worse Is Better'

JanneM Huh (240 comments)

So.. preserving backwards compatibility and interoperability across versions is a bad thing? If he's unhappy with the feature set of C++ (and I wouldn't blame him for that), then how about simply picking up a different language instead? That's what a new, non-compatible C++ version would be in any case.

Look at how great it has worked out for Python. It's been six years since the only mildly incompatible version 3 was released, and it has still not managed to become dominant over the legacy version 2. A more radical break would almost certainly have had an even tougher road ahead.

about two weeks ago
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Glut of Postdoc Researchers Stirs Quiet Crisis In Science

JanneM Re:I'm confused, shortage or glut (283 comments)

If there was a geniune shortage, you'd see sharp increases in salary levels. There's just a shortage of qualified people willing to work for much less than they're worth.

about three weeks ago
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2014 Nobel Prize In Physics Awarded To the Inventors of the Blue LED

JanneM Re:Useful but physics? (243 comments)

From Alfred Nobels will: "[...]which shall be apportioned as follows: one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery or invention within the field of physics; [...]"

So, discovery or invention. Doesn't have to be fundamental science, and can indeed be a pure engineering achievement.

about three weeks ago
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Japan's Shinkansen Bullet Trains Celebrate 50th Anniversary

JanneM Re:Hai! (111 comments)

That piece is kind of crap. The main reason is that the summer holidays are over. The kids are in school (and busy with clubs, homework and so on on the weekends) and the parents are working. And as most bathers are gone, so are the drink vendors, the equipment renters and so on.You'll still find people on beaches, just not many.

about a month ago
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Tetris To Be Made Into a Live Action Film

JanneM Re:There's no script. (137 comments)

I would imagine that this will be the kind of a movie that will be in the five dollar bin at Walmart's within a month of release. And there will be a lot of them that simply stay in that bin.

At least they'll be neatly packed.

about a month ago
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Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

JanneM Re:Fine. Legislate for externalities. (488 comments)

"Indeed, in Japan, only the western half of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu have enough sunny days to justify large-scale rooftop solar installations."

Which is why one of the largest solar plants opened near Sendai in northern Honshu a couple years back? What conditions are profitable depend on the technology you use, and the cost of production. And as solar cost decreases and efficiency increases more locations will be realistic.

about a month ago
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Update: At Least 31 People Feared Dead After Japan Volcano Erupts

JanneM Re:No warning? (54 comments)

There was some seismic activity for a period of time before it happened - but this is Japan; there's always seismic activity happening. According to interviewed researchers there really was no warning beforehand.

about a month ago
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Japan's Mt. Ontake Erupts, Stranding Hundreds of Hikers

JanneM Re:Why didn't they seek protection? (41 comments)

The video is deceiving; that trail is much steeper than it looks. Slowly stumbling downwards is pretty much all they could do. Also, most deaths from eruptions are either from poisonous gas or from heat. A small hut will shield you from neither. But both gas concentration and heat will disspiate by distance, so simply trying to get away from it may well be your best chance to survive.

about a month ago
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DHL Goes Live With 'Parcelcopter' Drone Delivery Service

JanneM Re:Copter data (92 comments)

So why are people generally using quadcopters for autonomous systems? What's the disadvantage of a single-rotor copter when you're doing autonomous flight? I can imagine that perhaps it's a size issue - quadcopters are lighter or cheaper or more efficient below a certain size or when indoors? Or is it much more difficult to write a reliable control system for a single-rotor system?

about a month ago
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DHL Goes Live With 'Parcelcopter' Drone Delivery Service

JanneM Re:Copter data (92 comments)

Could they handle that weight for such a distance, though? And in very rough weather, including rain and strong headwinds?

about a month ago
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DHL Goes Live With 'Parcelcopter' Drone Delivery Service

JanneM Copter data (92 comments)

Here's some data on the hardware, from http://ca.reuters.com/article/...

* 65 km/h peak speed, and will cover the distance in about 15-30 minutes;
* It weighs 5kg, and can carry a payload of up to 1.2kg

With 1.2kg it can certainly carry a complement of medicines or even small, urgently needed hardware and parts (batteries or spare bits for medical equipment for instance). Not general use of cours, but it does look like more than just a stunt.

about a month ago
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Small Restaurant Out-Maneuvers Yelp In Reviews War

JanneM Re:The review ecosystem is good and truly broken.. (249 comments)

Why? Maybe I simply only review things I like. Why would that devalue my reviews?

This. One reason really low and really high reviews are much more common than they ought to be is that people only bother voicing an opinion if they feel strongly (positive or negative) about something. Another is that once they do, they'll tend to exaggerate their evaluation to really drive home how they feel.

My suspicion is that the only stable scale is a simple "really liked it/really disliked it" up/down system. Then somehow weigh that according to the proportion of customers or buyers that actually bother to review. That depends of having a decently good estimate of that proportion though. The likes of Amazon have that for their products; for restaurants it'd be hard to impossible,

about a month ago
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Emails Cast Unflattering Light On Internal Politics of Healthcare.gov Rollout

JanneM Poor Rollo (392 comments)

I feel sorry for Rollo. He seems to get all the blame ever since he stated working for that website project.

about a month ago

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