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Finding Life In Space By Looking For Extraterrestrial Pollution

Moof123 Re:Major disappointment... (93 comments)

What is striking to me is that SETI is mostly looking for spikes in the background noise, but our communication standards have rapidly moved away from such signals ourselves. AM, FM, and VSB+C (old analog TV) were all relatively inefficient ways to transmit information, and often had a large center carrier that sticks out like a sore thumb, which makes for a nice way to detect a transmission.

Most digital transmissions now use various methods that do not need a center carrier, and look very much like amplified noise to outside observers. Our period of transmitting the types of signals that SETI is most looking for only lasted 100 years or so, and most new standards would be very hard or impossible to detect at interplanetary distances. Once can only assume that other cultures smart enough to make radio transmitters would also have similarly short periods during which inefficient methods would be used. Basically it might limit the window of detectability to the brief period between inventing radio, and when Moore's Law makes powerful signal processing very cheap.

yesterday
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US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers

Moof123 Re:Free market economy (528 comments)

Wrong. There is much more to it. It is hard to hire programmers in North Dakota for example. Industries have a lot of synergies that make it more practical to hire good skilled workers where they are already at than to try and create a workforce from scratch. The result is localized concentrations of related companies and like skilled workers. Wages have to be MUCH cheaper to make it worth a companies while to fire up a new plant or office in a location without an existing set of workers doing that exact thing.

A race to the bottom by removing all border restrictions, tariffs, etc is a perilous move, as we continue to find out. Rather than cut our taxes and slash our social welfare, we could spend that money on research and education. Novel concept, I know...

We will never be competitive with Bangladesh for sewing jobs, but so what? I'd rather see us lead on semiconductors, and design jobs.

5 days ago
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FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars

Moof123 Drug smuggling (435 comments)

I would have thought they would be worried about drug smuggling. Being able to pack up a stolen self driving car with drugs would really take the risk out of smuggling. With cars that follow all laws, the odds of it getting intercepted go way down.

about a week ago
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US Tech Firms Recruiting High Schoolers (And Younger)

Moof123 What about their next job? (253 comments)

It may not have changed his earning potential, but it greatly improves his opportunities if your company lays him off, goes bust, or just sucks. Having a degree on your resume is often needed just to get past the HR filter. I've met several folks who did very well despite their lack of degrees, and all want their kids to get one. You have to really sell yourself and rely on luck much more to get that next good job if you do not have a degree.

about two weeks ago
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Coddled, Surveilled, and Monetized: How Modern Houses Can Watch You

Moof123 So confused (150 comments)

Call me a curmudgeon, but I just don't see the need for most of this crap. Why even have a light switch that even has the capability to report you back to galactic central?!

My manual light switches (horrors!) work just fine. I don't see it as even a minor burden to flip them on-and off. Heck my 22 month old has managed to figure them out, and actually finds them fun (actual horrors!). Only a couple of them have required a hardware upgrade in the last ~35 years of their operation (how many web-connected things can claim that!).

My thermostat is mostly on a basic automatic cycle to be cool at night and comfy during the day. We don't find it to be a big deal to set it to manual or off when we are gone for a while. We chose to live in a moderate climate where further optimization would net us less than our rounding error every month (heating and cooling are 2% of our gross income).

I just see most of this auto-magic web based crap as an attempt to fix problems that don't exist, or are so minor they aren't worth fixing. In my mental calculus is the likelihood that these things will have bugs, break, and require a lot of tinkering to keep them in a hassle-free operating condition long enough to have a positive ROI.

But again, I am a curmudgeon.

about two weeks ago
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Airbus Patents Windowless Cockpit That Would Increase Pilots' Field of View

Moof123 Re:Removes an important failsafe (468 comments)

Actually no. If the navigation system failed, having a wider field of view through the display system with the described system would make terrain navigation easier.

However, if you had a double failure of both the display system AND the navigation system, the yes you'd be SOL and have to rely on air traffic control's radar and radio commands to keep you pointed in the right direction.

What if your flight had been at night? Would you have died? My guess is that your were on a pretty rot-gut plane that was in such disrepair that it would not have been allowed to fly in the US or EU (why was there no redundant navigation system?!).

Planes have many redundancies, and the FAA would put this system through the ringer as well before allowing it. I would guess that redundant backup screens and camera's would be required. Just like the redundant radios that are required in all IFR flights, among many, many redundant backup systems that keep planes as safe as they are now.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Often Should You Change Jobs?

Moof123 3-4 years (282 comments)

In engineering anyway, 3-4 years seems to be a good target. Odds are you can get a decent pay bump moving on, bigger than you can get staying put anyway. Most employers who see 3-4 years won't see you as a job hopper. If your current salary matches up with your offers, and the jobs you can find look no better, then at least you know you are doing about as well as you can. If, on the other hand, you find out you could be making 20% more, you know how badly you are being screwed now.

The system is rigged a bit rigged by default. Managers have a lot of flexibility when hiring you, or when trying to retain you, and almost none at annual raise time. They often are given a fixed percentage increase for the department that must be divided up. A 1-2% salary increase to spread around means it will be hard to give anyone a 10% raise no matter how much they deserve it. It is just business, as they say. When you leave for a substantial bump, it is still just business.

about three weeks ago
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The Bursting Social Media Advertising Bubble

Moof123 Tune out? (254 comments)

Heck I tend to hold a grudge against companies that stick themselves in the middle of family pictures, or who are clearly trying to hide their ads as content.

I think in general there is much more ad revenue being spent than the results can justify, but perhaps the rest of society is far more gullible than I give them credit for?

about a month ago
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Researchers Unveil Experimental 36-Core Chip

Moof123 Re:Different Power Supply Voltage (143 comments)

Banging my head on the table right now.

Why do people with zero actual semiconductor knowledge try to speak as an authority*?!

It's a research chip, meaning they don't need to be on the latest process node to show their proof of concept. Larger nodes (much cheaper to design a chip on) have thicker gate passivation layers and run at higher voltage. From an architecture standpoint the process node/voltage are irrelevant. So if their architecture proves out, some bigger outfit can run with it while targetting the latest-greatest itty-bitty process node to increase the clock-rate, drop the power, and reduce the area/price.

*I am not a processor designer, just a mixed signal (mostly analog) guy, but I've been working in the semiconductor industry, including doing process bake-offs for over a dozen years.

about a month ago
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Judge: $324M Settlement In Silicon Valley Tech Worker Case Not Enough

Moof123 Justice? (150 comments)

The settlement is weak. Nobody responsible is going to jail. The theme just repeats itself. Those in power can either drag things out so long, or be claimed to be too "big to prosecute" by Eric Placeholder's DOJ (bought and paid for by corporate sponsors, funny that...) and never have any real punishment brought on them of consequence.

If the precedent goes on too long where too many angry screwed peons do not have any sense of justice, you may see vigilantism kick in. Screwed workers who feel they have little left to lose might start going postal after realizing that their American Dream is just such a farce.

about a month ago
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EU's Top Court May Define Obesity As a Disability

Moof123 Re:Please make it a mental one (625 comments)

How about we do something about it rather than blaming the ever increasing number of addicts?

Let's start by ending subsidies for corn syrup. Maybe use those funds to subsidize fruits and veggies? I would welcome the day when it is cheaper to eat a salad than make a box of Mac&Cheese, or to have an apple cost less than a hershey bar. OJ cheaper than Coke?

We have some really sick (in both senses) incentives that make it cheaper to eat delicious empty calories rather than healthy low calorie and high nutrient foods. Blaming folks who fall into this trap is cruel and unproductive.

about a month and a half ago
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How LEDs Are Made

Moof123 How is this a beat? (93 comments)

Battery life? Nope.
Weight/convenience? Nope.

If your only goal is to be the brightest guy out there, buy a surplus aircraft landing light.

The real goal is to be visible but not distracting to cars and fellow riders. The lightest, cheap, long battery life solution to that need is the win. Th boring blinkie red light is a pretty good solution today.

now if your goal is to get ready for entertaining the ectasy taking hippies at burning man, then this is might be an OK solution, but as a bike light it stinks.

about 2 months ago
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Kids With Wheels: Should the Unlicensed Be Allowed To 'Drive' Autonomous Cars?

Moof123 Interference? (437 comments)

Out of curiosity, when you pack a bunch of these on the road, will their laser systems ever confuse one another? How much power are they using anyway? I have a hard time thinking they can get away with just a few mW. Any fear of blinding pedestrians?

I have just so many low level questions.

about 2 months ago
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Agree or Disagree: We are in another tech bubble.

Moof123 Re:We have an advertising bubble... (154 comments)

I don't disagree with you. I think that a lot of the advertising is far less effective than what it must be costing. How often do people *actually* click on banner ads? How much traffic is just bots?

Maybe I'm an atypical consumer, but I doubt my spending comes close to being good ROI for the ad sales targeting me.

about 2 months ago
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Ohio Prison Shows Pirated Movies To Inmates

Moof123 Re:Prisons Breaking Rights (186 comments)

"less frequently have incentive to commit crimes like bank robbery"

Why rob a bank when you can pay off a politician to make it legal for you to sell them rigged products and yank money out of the banks legally?

about 2 months ago
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Ohio Prison Shows Pirated Movies To Inmates

Moof123 Re:Apples and Oranges (186 comments)

" It will be interesting to see if the investigation turns anything up."

Don't hold your breath. If anyone remotely powerful is involved the standard tactic is to delay, I mean "investigate", until everyone's attention span has given way.

about 2 months ago
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Fixing the Pain of Programming

Moof123 Re:Lazy people (294 comments)

Given that the Slashdot's general sentiment is that users should use open source because they can just fix it themselves, a response berating folks who want to be able to make changes easily is pretty lame. Not that I'm accusing the Open Source religion of being fully of cranks and charlatans, but come on!

about 2 months ago
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Comcast Predicts Usage Cap Within 5 Years

Moof123 Coded language? (475 comments)

Nice network you have there, it would be a shame if something happened to it...

about 2 months ago
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Russia Bans US Use of Its Rocket Engines For Military Launches

Moof123 Re:Comparative advantage is BS (522 comments)

$ per ton into orbit.

Deaths per hundred launches.

The shuttle was a crap vision that never came to be. It was supposed to be re-usable, but had to be torn down and rebuilt between flights. The design precludes rescue for near ground malfunctions. By any sane metric you would have been better off with an Apollo, or Soyuz style system over the shuttle. USSR dumped their shuttle attempt, it is a poor design in general.

about 2 months ago

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