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Comments

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Why Organic Chemistry Is So Difficult For Pre-Med Students

Mr. Underbridge Article is exactly wrong (279 comments)

I have a PhD in chemistry, so I've been through all the classes mentioned.

Organic is, in fact, the only one you absolutely CAN memorize. Unlike the math-based chemistry classes where you have to learn principles, which the pre-meds struggle mightily with, the memorization-heavy organic chemistry is the one that is considered to be similar enough to medical school that it is used as a weed-out.

This is particularly true of organic *synthesis*, vs. organic *mechanisms*. Mechanistic organic is often presented as a first semester organic class, and that does actually require knowledge and understanding. Synthesis, however, is nearly straight memorization, even if you don't want to.

I was happy when the pre-meds stopped taking the major-level chemistry classes (mostly after organic). It made my physical chemistry classes much more interesting. It didn't keep the one pre-med in the class from whining the entire time that he wasn't getting the answers spoon-fed to him from the book, though.

So I don't know where the author is coming from, because they completely got it wrong.

about 5 months ago
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Google To Encrypt All Keyword Searches

Mr. Underbridge Dead Man's Switch (224 comments)

Based on that, and on my viewpoint as a Google employee who builds some of the internal security systems that the NSA would have to compromise to snoop, I am completely convinced that Google is telling the truth when it says that it has not given the NSA any sort of direct or indirect access.

I don't know if they are intentionally being this clever - but if the execs were to claim daily that they aren't bending over for the NSA, the day they stop claiming it is the day you know they are bent over by the NSA. In effect, their denials become a "dead man's switch" of sorts that circumvents the inability to tell the world that you have to comply with the NSA's tentacles.

This is foolproof unless the NSA can either 1) forbid the entire populace to cease speaking about the entire topic of surveillance, or 2) compel people to lie.

about 7 months ago
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Inside the 2013 US Intelligence "Black Budget"

Mr. Underbridge Different "open source" (271 comments)

I couldn't find that in the text. However, that likely doesn't mean "open source" as in software. It means "open source", as in, the source of info is, well, open. Think things like broadcasts, newspapers, slashdot...

about 8 months ago
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The Air Force's Love For Fighter Pilots Is Too Big To Fail

Mr. Underbridge Don't be so closed minded (253 comments)

Nobody wants to see some pocket-protector-wearing nerd trying to bed Kelly McGillis.

As opposed to a midget in elevator shoes?

Plus the fight scenes would've been incredibly boring.

I don't know. Seems to me that the whole video-game-that's-really-combat angle has worked in the past...

Besides, I'd say that since drones can pull g forces that would kill or incapacitate pilots, those fight scenes would kick ass.

about 9 months ago
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Do-It-Yourself Brain Stimulation Has Scientists Worried

Mr. Underbridge Placebo effect? (311 comments)

zapped his brain's auditory cortex with a mild dose of electricity. The result, he claims, was a dramatic improvement in his ability to hear pitch, including the sour notes he produced himself.

How the hell would he know if it didn't? Can we get testimonials of his friends? Otherwise, I'm claiming placebo effect.

about 10 months ago
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Decommissioning San Onofre Nuclear Plant May Take Decades

Mr. Underbridge Yucca Mtn (266 comments)

for 50 years, the federal government has taxed nuclear fuel to build a permanent waste depository. where is it?

As much as I love blasting on our danged ole federal gummint, on this one I have to blame the NIMBY asshats in Nevada. You see, the Feds identified a pretty damned good place in Yucca Mountain. The place is geologically pretty stable, made of solid rock, and has a crazy low water table. Oh, and it's about 100 miles away from civilization, which in this case means Las Vegas.

The feds spent decades fighting the locals to get this done, until Obama finally capitulated to the NIMBYs as fronted by Sen. Harry Reid, killing the project and leaving a total lack of long term storage. Quid pro quo for something, no doubt.

about 10 months ago
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Apple-1 Sells For $671,400, Breaks Previous Auction Record

Mr. Underbridge Re:Hell, I'd buy it. (79 comments)

I'd buy it, if only for a chance to start harassing The Woz for tech support.

What's awesome about that guy? I bet he'd do it.

about a year ago
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Why DOJ Didn't Need a "Super Search Warrant" To Snoop On Fox News' E-mail

Mr. Underbridge Fascist, not centrist (330 comments)

Obama is a centrist, not a leftist, especially with regard to civil liberties.

Sorry buddy, where civil liberties are concerned he's practically a fascist. This shit - IRS, AP, Fox News, drone kills, etc, etc, etc - is so far over the line that Bush II established, it isn't even funny. In either the sardonic or the ha-ha sense. Obama, on the topic of openness and liberty, is worse than Bush II in every way.

And if the media were as motivated to take Obama down as they were to take Nixon down, I expect this would be a lot bigger than it is now. As it is, he gets the kid gloves treatment, and somehow his excuses about not knowing about this shit get swallowed.

The more I see from this president, the more disgusted I become. Mostly because he has become exactly the sort of person he claimed to be against during his first "hopey changey" campaign. Every politician becomes a hypocrite upon gaining office, but this one wins the prize.

about a year ago
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For Jane's, Gustav Weißkopf's 1901 Liftoff Displaces Wright Bros.

Mr. Underbridge Re:The Wrights invented flying (267 comments)

, it was the Wright Brothers who understood the inherit instability of a plane. Others thought of a plane as a bit like a boat in the water, but the Wrights had been bicycle mechanics, and knew that one had to constantly control a bicycle,

As a cyclist, that makes sense. It could also explain the instinct to change direction by banking rather than simply turning the vehicle in the plane, as one would do with a 4-wheeled vehicle on land, or through use of a rudder with a boat. As anyone who has ever ridden a bike at high speed knows, you don't turn by twisting the handlebars.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Stay Fit In the Office?

Mr. Underbridge Downtime in lab? Find something useful to do (372 comments)

I work in an R&D lab, but in between daily tasks there is a lot of downtime, which I spend at my desk, staring at my computer.

I say this as a manager in an R&D lab:

I want to hire self motivated people. And co-ops are a great way to end up with a full time position. But I will avoid like the plague people who sit staring at their computer because they weren't told what to do. If you weren't told what to do, ask what to do. If you get no guidance, suggest a side project of your own to work when you don't have other tasks. Failing that, if you're a scientist, find some journal articles and get smarter.

I wholeheartedly support the effort to get in shape, but I wouldn't start treating on-the-job downtime as an opportunity to engage in extracurricular activity. It might suggest you're not serious about your co-op. I realize you're probably young and think you're doing enough if you're doing what you told, but the people who get ahead are those who motivate themselves.

Best of luck in your co-op.

about a year ago
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Anonymous Files Petition To Make DDoS Legal Form of Protest

Mr. Underbridge Occupy public space (323 comments)

Generally, you can't occupy private property. Protests need to be on public property. So how about this. You can only ddos .gov sites. Let's see how far that flies.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Can I Explain To a Coworker That He Writes Bad Code?

Mr. Underbridge Re:He knows something you don't. (683 comments)

Exactly. If this isn't your style guide, you're doing it wrong.

about a year ago
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Microsoft Says Google Trying To Undermine Windows Phone

Mr. Underbridge Re:Lawyer? (476 comments)

What the FUCK is a FUCKING lawyer doing working as a FUCKING VP for a software company?

VP is a title that has been subject to the corporate version of grade inflation. At my company we have VPs of everything. I'm sure they have multiple VPs in most every group, and not having a single lawyer at the VP level would be a bit conspicuous.

Now if they had a lawyer for one of the main C-level executive positions, that would be different. But this is just big-company title inflation.

about a year ago
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FAA Device Rules Illustrate the Folly of a Regulated Internet

Mr. Underbridge I like a cautious FAA (449 comments)

I agree. Of the agencies I want to be extra cautious, FAA is at the top of the list along with the FDA. NHTSA, and other agencies that are responsible for making sure that the products and services we use don't kill us.

It's not like they can pull the plane over until they find out which device is screwing with the avionics, were such a thing to happen..

about a year ago
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Why Linux On Microsoft Surface Is a Tough Challenge

Mr. Underbridge Re:Specious logic (561 comments)

Ooooh, internet tough guy! Hey, by the way - putting three periods instead of one at the end of all your sentences doesn't make you sound intelligent. And a lack of capital letters doesn't make you e.e. cummings.

Grow up and move out of Mom's basement, kid.

about a year ago
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Why Linux On Microsoft Surface Is a Tough Challenge

Mr. Underbridge Specious logic (561 comments)

There are a thousand other things wrong with Linux right now and nobody seems interested in fixing them (yes, I'm doing my part, but I only have so much free time to spend fixing random issues and maintaining my own packages). No, instead, we're going to dump all our time and effort into making a device that was NEVER DESIGNED TO RUN LINUX, well, run Linux.

Until relatively recently, no device was *ever* designed to run linux. If the Linux community accepted that approach, Linux wouldn't run on anything.

I think it's important, and sends a message to big companies, that Linux run on everything. It tells them, you will not avoid us. You cannot lock your shit down. No matter what you do, we'll be there.

If I was more clever, I'd do a rendition of a Police song to accentuate the point.

about a year ago
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Bloomberg: Steve Jobs Behind NYC Crime Wave

Mr. Underbridge Re:This is borderline ridiculous (311 comments)

The way this is written is so absurdly biased; if you want to promote Android devices, just come out and say it.

I don't think they're trying to. I'd infer one a few possibilities, possibly more than one:

*Apple has, through a marketing blitz, become synonymous with personal electronic gadget. So a crime wave of electronic gadget theft makes people think Apple.

*Apple devices have a high market share, so their devices probably constitute a high fraction of gadget thefts

*Apple devices may have a better black market value due to ubiquity and appeal.

The quotes come from city officials - I don't think they have any sort of anti-Apple bias

The way the slashdot summary is written is clearly joking, sonic boom *whoosh* sound impending

about a year ago
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Linus Chews Up Kernel Maintainer For Introducing Userspace Bug

Mr. Underbridge Re:not good management technique (1051 comments)

It's just a kernel patch? That's kind of a big deal if you've made the kernel your life's work. That's kind of a slippery slope to nobody giving a shit about their jobs unless they're life or death.

I'm a firm believer in tailoring management style to whatever is necessary for the employee to get the message. Some employees you would never need to get that way with because they take the message that you proscribed. Some need to eat a dose of humble pie. And I'd say getting hammered publicly on LKML qualifies.

And I hate to say it, but I'm not sure even Linus' barrage did the trick, since the last line of Mario's response to the quoted post was "Sometimes shit happens. Sorry for that."

I don't know about you, but I don't think this is a guy for whom "pretty please" is going to make enough of an impact.

about a year ago
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Facebook Paid 0.3% Taxes On $1.34 Billion Profits

Mr. Underbridge Re:Tax avoidance (592 comments)

I think most of the disagreement depends on the definition of "society". Binning coarsely, we have group A who wants a libertarian anarchy. Group B wants to pay for shared infrastructure, but not the welfare state. Group C wants a social democracy with a variety of personal, non-infrastructure services guaranteed as rights. Lines blur of course, but that's the general idea.

Choose your own definition of society. I'm not sure exactly who you mean with your comments - I agree with you on the group A nuts who think that private enterprise will develop useful markets, electrical grids, roads, etc. However, I agree with those who dearly want to pay for infrastructure, but don't want to have to pay everybody's personal bills as the cover charge into "society".

about a year ago
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Amazon: Authors Can't Review Books

Mr. Underbridge I don't get the fury (248 comments)

It seems to be the rage these days to knock any online review site. Restauranteurs hate yelp, authors hate amazon, etc. Guess what - nothing's perfect, but they're pretty good. Are the Amazon ratings perfect? No, especially for situations with few reviews. But who the hell doesn't already know that and take it into account?

I like amazon's ratings system a lot. You can tell a lot from the distribution of scores. You have the actual reviews you can actually read. They flag the most useful favorable/unfavorable review, and in my experience, they really are useful. They also aggregate commonly mentioned topics, so you can identify common themes with respect to a product - like a common defect.

Same thing with yelp. Sure, the scores can be skewed by hipsters, yuppies, or assholes who make it their life's mission to review things and be clever. But more often than not, I've found the reviews to be fair. And I've also found that reading a handful of positive reviews and negative reviews gives you a very good impression of a place - same with amazon.

So no, these review systems aren't perfect. But they're really good, and as a result I'm much more likely to actually like the stuff I buy than back in the bad old days when you waited until someone you know bought something you want, or bite the bullet yourself. It's much better now, and just because there's room for improvement doesn't mean we should throw it all away.

about a year ago

Submissions

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What is that red light in the sky?

Mr. Underbridge Mr. Underbridge writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Mr. Underbridge (666784) writes "OK, slashdot — there are a number of us who are interested in the happenings of the night sky at around 9:00 EDT. So with much of the eastern continental US observing a strange red/pink light in the night sky, what is it? It sort of resembles an aurora borealis — but not. It's also visible at least as far south as Georgia.
The link is useful for the comments section — read after about 9 EDT.
So, denizens of slashdot — what are we seeing here? Aliens? Aurora? Meteor fragments? Other?"

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