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Kepler-186f: Most 'Earth-Like' Alien World Discovered

JoeMerchant Re:Should we say hello? (206 comments)

Extrasolar planet hunting is... spotty at best.

If we actually sent a spaceship into a Jupiter sized orbit of another star, it would still take awhile to spot all the inner planets.

yesterday
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Kepler-186f: Most 'Earth-Like' Alien World Discovered

JoeMerchant Re:Point and look (206 comments)

Not only did computers get better, look at basic transportation over the last 500 years... oceangoing sailing ships to jets and spacecraft.

500 more years and we just might be travelling near light speed on the way there.

yesterday
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Switching From Sitting To Standing At Your Desk

JoeMerchant Re:victorian clerks.. (274 comments)

But, everyone aspired to be that cigar smoking boss, so everyone getting "comfy" chairs was progress, right?

yesterday
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Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

JoeMerchant Re:Of 1000? (449 comments)

You don't need to become one of those 1000, all you have to be is delusional enough to believe that you will be fabulously wealthy...

2 days ago
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Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

JoeMerchant Re:I must be in the minority. (449 comments)

They must just be asking a lot of people who are understand math and have a little discipline. A carpenter can become a millionaire by retirement, all you have to do is start saving and keep saving.

I fully intend to be a millionaire by the time I retire, and with inflation that should be enough for a tent and some camping supplies.

^^^This, exactly!

I assume the people asking / answering the question are talking about being a millionaire in today's dollars... already it is easier by a factor of 4 since I graduated high school (1984) to accumulate 7 figures in your net worth.

2 days ago
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U.S. Biomedical Research 'Unsustainable' Prominent Researchers Warn

JoeMerchant Re:Another thing (135 comments)

So, you're saying we don't need more PhDs in Mathematics, like the article says we don't need more biomedical researchers, we should all retrain to do elder care and innovate improvements in Depends and Shuffleboard?

2 days ago
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Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

JoeMerchant Re:Brace yourselves. (584 comments)

Looking around, there are plenty of zealots on all sides of this issue.

4 days ago
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Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

JoeMerchant Re:McCarthy the Playmate? (584 comments)

If we all bow down and worship the medical professionals for their opinions on all things medical, we are fools.

I have heard, from a recently minted M.D., the opinion that "it doesn't matter if breast cancer screening causes breast cancer, because once we detect it, we can treat it." I, lacking a medical degree, am obviously not smart enough to fathom this reasoning, how we should go around breaking people because we think we know how to fix them later?

4 days ago
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Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

JoeMerchant Re:Why do people listen to her? (584 comments)

The delusion here, with any public figure who reaches tens or hundreds of millions of people, is that you are dealing with "a person."

Think about "Joe the Plumber" - he was just a guy who got a microphone stuck in his face, spoke his mind, and had it spread out on a national stage. The professionals don't operate like that, they've got "hive mind" at work with people monitoring public opinion in the various "markets," script writers carefully choosing words that balance the varying perceptions of those words, and "message managers" that emphasize, and de-emphasize, the various messages to various groups. People who attempt to be public figures at a national level without that kind of support are eaten alive by the ones who do it competitively.

Bands that promote themselves through YouTube have "a chance" to gain some popularity, but I haven't seen any of these garage phenomena reach Nirvana proportions, and, in my opinion, that's a good thing. McCarthy is at Nirvana scale, and Obama makes her look like a sad side show.

4 days ago
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Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

JoeMerchant Re:Why do people listen to her? (584 comments)

McCarthy, and her PR team, have a well reasoned, defensible position, including the last line re: measles vs. autism - even if there is no scientific proof of a measles vaccine / autism link, it is still a valid statement.

The McCarthy PR campaign also projects a strong sense of the "whatever pleases, or resonates with, the most people right now" - taking that same message and emphasizing different perceptions of it at different times.

Personally, I think the McCarthy "message" is being promoted first and foremost to benefit the McCarthy team (her, her publicist, and the whole crew that make a phenomenon like that happen....) There might have been an inkling of a heartfelt idea at the core of it, but it's been blown up way beyond that.

4 days ago
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Obama Says He May Or May Not Let the NSA Exploit the Next Heartbleed

JoeMerchant Re:Well, yeah (134 comments)

..."avoid a shooting war", "national security or law enforcement need"....

Why does it always come down to those things?

Because that's their job?

Seriously, upgrading the server or refactoring the software? Why does IT always have such drama, can't they just scale up and down like Sales?

5 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

JoeMerchant Re:McGuffey's 4th New Eclectic Reader:"The Colonis (728 comments)

No modern "career job" is useful after an Apocalypse. If you are involved in any kind of competitive (free market) industry, you are using the infrastructure to its best advantage. "Modern" farming knows little to nothing about how to farm without fuel or pesticides. Similarly, modern medicine isn't about basic hygiene or simple infection control.

If you want to be useful after an Apocalypse, take up survivalism as a hobby, learn to grow your own food, make your own tools, including weapons for hunting / defense, and do construction without power tools. But, don't think you can make a living in the real world with these skills, unless you are a promoting your hobby and selling it as a service to others - which takes: modern technology to effectively do your advertising and customer handling, competitively.

Also, the dominant early Apocalypse survivors will be all about Max Max style scavenging of whatever is leftover, you won't get down to the true basic skills until the stores are picked clean and structures have fallen to rubble - and the "natural world" may not resemble anything familiar... adaptability is key.

5 days ago
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FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

JoeMerchant Re:Regulations prohibit, not allow (214 comments)

I believe their major malfunction centers on "sense and avoid" - that's the standard for human piloted aircraft and they want drones to do it before they turn them loose.

Problem is, drones range in size from gnats to 707s, and there's absolutely no standardization of sense and avoid tech that works, or even has a chance of working across the spectrum of players.

5 days ago
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Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

JoeMerchant Re:Sex discrimination. (673 comments)

It does vary by industry, but "my part" of Florida, lately, has been North Central - quite a bit closer to the Heart of Dixie than South Florida, especially Miami, but even Naples -> Ft. Myers is more populated from the NorthEast than Georgia / Alabama.

First rule of Florida, nobody is from here. I'm sort of an exception, both my parents, myself, my brother, my wife and my first child were born in Florida. Even rarer is that we were born and lived most of our lives in-state, but we haven't all been living on "the family land" since the Indian Wars.

about a week ago
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Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

JoeMerchant Re:Sex discrimination. (673 comments)

I suspect the "strength of bias" I am observing has to do with my location, in the U.S. South.

In that electronics factory, some interesting things came into play regarding productivity. First, our shop in Florida was non-union. Minimum wage was $3.35/hr then, and most of us made about $5.80/hr, plus time and a half for the 5 hours of semi-mandatory overtime most Saturdays. We had a sister plant in Ohio, union shop. Ohio had twice the number of people, working in 4x the square footage, making $11.50/hr to start with faster raises and better benefits. Our department consistently turned out 2x the amount of product as Ohio did, at 1/4 the cost. But, to get to your Asian reference, a few of the production girls were Vietnamese, their son (named Hung, can't forget that), interned the same summer I did. The industrial engineers established "rate" by test assembling a few things while they timed themselves. I watched over the guy's shoulder a few times while he did this. If he could make 4 parts in 15 minutes of focused effort, he'd set rate at about 50pcs per hour - his answer to my question on his math was "you'll get better with practice." Well, the Americans in the factory never did "make rate" on anything, but Hung could beat rate, sometimes by a factor of 2 or more, doing leaded component PCB stuffing.

So, we were the American factory with the occasional Asian sprinkled in, and while we were all incompetent compared to him, we still beat the crap out of the union shop in Ohio.

And you wonder how a circuit breaker for the B2 bomber could cost $1500?

about a week ago
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Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

JoeMerchant Re:Sex discrimination. (673 comments)

Plumbers can make considerably more money than garbage collectors, and as GP pointed out, it's not particularly hot or heavy work.

about a week ago
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Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

JoeMerchant Re:Sex discrimination. (673 comments)

Something I've encountered recently is an age discrimination / bias, working in a University town with a couple of firms heavily staffed with recent grads, there's a disconnect between the 25 year old idea of "proper work/life balance" and the 35+ year old perception of that concept.

It's not really so much age based, but as you say, when the kids are born, and then again when the kids enter school. My solution was to move out of the scrappy-graduate-company town and start working more with people my own age.

about a week ago
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Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

JoeMerchant Re:Sex discrimination. (673 comments)

Sheeple are herd animals, and most kids starting out in the working world are sheeple.

If there's a heavily male dominated arena, women will shy away from it, and, strangely enough, vice versa.

I am well aware how unpopular this next statement is, and a major University admin had to resign not too long ago for saying it, but there are certain sex differences in raw ability - men are, on average, better at math, and women, in general, have superior "people skills." This should, and does, influence self selection of career roles. I certainly didn't choose Engineering school during my heavy hormone years because of the abundant babes there, I did it because I'm good at it, it takes me less effort to compete in that arena and come out on top, compared to say Psychology, Education or Business Administration.

But, back to the opening statement: these natural biases are magnified by the "following the crowd" effect, and reinforced by mentors and guidance counselors who dispense advice based on prejudice rather than the individual... that's what should be stopped, but it's an imperfect world, and a whole lot cheaper to pay $100 per female head than it is to "do it right, for all the right reasons."

about a week ago
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Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

JoeMerchant Re:Sex discrimination. (673 comments)

My 1988 Engineering gradating class was more than 2/3 male, then most of the females went into MBA / management roles.

about a week ago

Submissions

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CryptoCat - an encrypted web-based chat

JoeMerchant JoeMerchant writes  |  about a year and a half ago

JoeMerchant writes "Twenty-one-year-old college student Nadim Kobeissi is from Canada, Lebanon and the internet.

Cryptocat is an encrypted web-based chat. It’s the first chat client in the browser to allow anyone to use end-to-end encryption to communicate without the problems of SSL, the standard way browsers do crypto, or mucking about with downloading and installing other software. For Kobeissi, that means non-technical people anywhere in the world can talk without fear of online snooping from corporations, criminals or governments.

“The fact that you don’t have to install anything, the fact that it works instantly, this increases security,” he explained, sitting down with Wired at HOPE 9 to talk about Cryptocat, activism and getting through American airports."

Link to Original Source
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Amazon Android App Store - Mandatory One Click Ordering

JoeMerchant JoeMerchant writes  |  about 2 years ago

JoeMerchant writes "So, it has finally arrived... since 2003ish I have been on the lookout for a decent, affordable (sub $100) web browsing device — and it came in the shape of 7" capacitive multitouch Android tablets from cheap off-brand manufacturers. But, this isn't a hardware review. This is a cautionary tale about the importance of choice in app-store compatibility. At least one of these devices is built with a strong preference for the Amazon App Store, yes, some apps can be side-loaded, but Google Play is specifically thwarted by the built-in Android image, making Amazon the "obvious" choice.

So, what's so bad about the Amazon App Store? Well, I personally don't mind that it runs continuously in the background as a kind of license server, though some people complain that it's hard on battery life (while others disagree)... my real beef with the Amazon App Store is its always active one-click: no password, app ordering, always available. The only way I have found to deactivate one-click app ordering is to uninstall the store, which deactivates ALL the apps that use it for license checking, which includes about 18 of the 20 apps I have tested.

You can say that Amazon's customer service is excellent and that they will refund any accidental purchases, you can say that they notify you of every app purchase immediately in e-mail; free and paid app purchase notifications look identical in every way until you click on each individual transaction to open it, and it is the same in Amazon's account review. This feels like a return to the old Record/DVD Club days where you get a bunch of cool stuff you want, very conveniently, for a reasonably good deal, but then have to fight to turn the thing off and eventually get charged for something you don't want, especially if you ever hand your tablet over to an elementary school aged child to play with unsupervised for any length of time.

After getting sucked in on the Free Apps, I finally purchased a couple of paid apps and was fairly shocked that, unlike the iPad, I didn't have to put in any kind of password. It's much less the 2x0.99 that bothers me than all the time and effort spent setting up two tablets, just to find out later that if I don't want to leave my credit card fully exposed for app purchases, I'll lose use of all the apps I have installed from their store. So, suck the customer in and after they have invested maybe 20 hours into your ecosystem, finally give them a clue that there's no way to turn off purchases, the parental controls options only apply to in-app purchases, not to app purchases themselves — and if your kids are smart enough to get into the master app listing, they can always launch the app store.

Response from Amazon Customer Service:

It was a pleasure to speak with you today! I know your time is valuable and I appreciate you spending some of it with Amazon Appstore support. Thanks for suggesting we add parental control for App purchases to the Amazon Appstore for Android. Customer feedback like yours really helps us continue to improve our products and provide better service to our customers. I've passed your suggestion to the Appstore team for consideration as we make future improvements. Thanks for taking time to offer us your thoughts. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Kind words, I really doubt the absence of password entry was any kind of oversight or accident."
Link to Original Source

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Apps for Apes

JoeMerchant JoeMerchant writes  |  more than 2 years ago

JoeMerchant (803320) writes "Orangutans across the world may soon join the ranks of millions of humans as proud owners of new iPads. As strange as that may sound, a conservation group is testing out its "Apps for Apes" program, allowing orangutans to communicate with each other remotely via the iPad's video chat technology.

There has got to be an observation in there somewhere about the change this will bring in the average Apple user's intelligence levels..."

Link to Original Source
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Will Apple's iPad trademark prevail in China?

JoeMerchant JoeMerchant writes  |  more than 2 years ago

JoeMerchant (803320) writes "Chinese officials face a choice in Apple's dispute with a local company over the iPad trademark — side with a struggling entity that a court says owns the name or with a global brand that has created thousands of jobs in China. Experts say that means Beijing's political priorities rather than the courts will settle the dispute if it escalates.

What are the odds that, of 1.3 billion Chinese, one of them has a stronger legal claim to the name "iPad" than Apple?"

Link to Original Source
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Hacking Yogurt to make Prozac with Open Source DNA

JoeMerchant JoeMerchant writes  |  more than 2 years ago

JoeMerchant (803320) writes "While most people think biotechnology is complex, expensive and exclusively practiced in fancy lab settings, designer Tuur van Balen argues it is actually quite accessible. He demonstrates his vision on DIY biotechnology by creating an ‘anti-depressant yoghurt,’ using open source DNA on stage in a 7.5 minute video. Smakelijk!"
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Is it wrong to want opt-in?

JoeMerchant JoeMerchant writes  |  more than 2 years ago

JoeMerchant (803320) writes "I have had a Yahoo account since before the turn of the Century, and one of my biggest complaints about it was being required to download the Yahoo Messenger desktop software just to access the account management setting to block "Friend Requests" from every random spammer on the planet.

My Google account, by comparison, was relatively quiet and Friend-Spam-Free, until just recently — although the "quality" of Google friend spam is higher than Yahoo (most of the random people asking to "Friend" me actually have some kind of common interest listed in their profiles), it's still random Friend request spam from people who don't even know people I know. Now, I suppose I'm going to have to "pay" for some peace and quiet in my Google account by taking the time to decipher their settings process to turn these people off.

I know that both these services are provided free of monetary charge, and that I am "free" to walk away at any time, but I do feel like the victim of a submarine attack after they provide a good service for 10+ years and then, without even a "would you like to opt-in" dialog, start flooding me with daily friend requests from essentially random people.

Is there a similar "homepage" service out there that respects its user's privacy and doesn't demand their time and effort to adjust it to do so?"

Link to Original Source
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Learn Coding Online

JoeMerchant JoeMerchant writes  |  more than 2 years ago

JoeMerchant (803320) writes "Online services like CodeCademy and Treehouse are making a business of teaching programming online. Despite the fact colleges are churning out more programmers, many fast-growing Silicon Valley companies say they still can't find enough of them.

Do you think that the online schools will add anything to traditional self-teaching of programming skills?"

Link to Original Source
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Ask Slashdot: What will you do with 128Gb/s RAM ba

JoeMerchant JoeMerchant writes  |  more than 2 years ago

JoeMerchant (803320) writes "Whiel manufacturers have been murmuring about 3D memory chips for years. Intel unveiled a Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) at IDF, which promises seven times the energy efficiency of today's DDR3, and now IBM and Micron have shown their hand too. The pair just struck up a partnership to produce cubes using layers of DRAM connected by vertical conduits known as through-silicon vias (TSVs). These pillars allow a 90 percent reduction in a memory chip's physical footprint, a 70 percent cut in its appetite for energy, and a radical increase in bandwidth: HMC prototypes have already scored 128Gb/s. It certainly sounds like a game-changer."
Link to Original Source
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Floating home for tech start-ups

JoeMerchant JoeMerchant writes  |  more than 2 years ago

JoeMerchant writes "Max Marty, founder of Blueseed, believes that US immigration laws are stifling entrepreneurs from other countries, so he plans to buy a ship and anchor it in international waters off the coast of California. He hopes that up to a thousand developers could live and work just 20 kilometres offshore, commuting via regular ferries to the mainland for meetings with clients and investors.

Ship residents will pay around $1200 per month for basic accommodation, which Marty says compares favourably with typical rents in San Francisco."

Link to Original Source
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Programming in Cell OS

JoeMerchant JoeMerchant writes  |  more than 2 years ago

JoeMerchant (803320) writes "An international team of synthetic biologists, led by professor of computer science Natalio Krasnogor at the University of Nottingham, hopes to change hopes to revolutionize synthetic biology with what they call Cell OS, a "bottom-up approach to cellular computing, in which computational chemical processes are encapsulated within liposomes." The team refers to this as "liposome logic" or "vesicle computing," which sounds analogous to the logic based off of the field-effect transistor, and it may be a part of the nascent "CellOS". The bold project is aptly named AUdACiOuS."
Link to Original Source
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Remote-Controlled Borg Beetle

JoeMerchant JoeMerchant writes  |  more than 5 years ago

JoeMerchant writes "A giant Borg beetle with implanted electrodes and a radio receiver on its back can be wirelessly controlled, according to research presented this week. Overlords at the University of California hivemind developed a tiny rig that receives control signals from the collective. Electrical signals delivered via the electrodes command the insect to take off, turn left or right, or hover in midflight. The research, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), could one day be used for assimilation on a planetary scale.

Obligatory: Resistance is Futile ."

Link to Original Source
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Robotic radical hysterectomy has advantages

JoeMerchant JoeMerchant writes  |  more than 5 years ago

JoeMerchant writes "Robotic-assisted surgery has become an appealing tool for gynecologic oncology surgeons. However, to date, there is little data to confirm the benefits of this technology. Patients who underwent RRH had less blood loss and shorter hospital stays. "This robotic-assisted approach deserves further exploration to evaluate the full potential and application of RRH."

I for one...."

Link to Original Source

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