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Programmer Father Asks: What Gets Little Girls Interested In Science?

Necron69 If you really think... (584 comments)

that girls and boys/men and women are identical except for plumbing, you are going to have a bad time. There is far more to our gender differences than mere marketing and stereotypes.

I say expose your kids to as many different things as you can, and let them figure out what they like or are good at. I tried ridiculously hard to get my son interested in computers and geeky things from a very early age. At 21, he is now a car mechanic and loves football and UFC. Go figure.

Necron69

about two weeks ago
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Test Flight For NASA's Orion Capsule Slated for December 4

Necron69 Re:Finally! (59 comments)

Meteorite impact sites are in fact the locations that we mine lots of valuable minerals:

http://www.univie.ac.at/geoche...

The heavy, denser metals largely sank deep into the Earth when it was still forming. This is thought not to be true for many asteroids, although we don't know for sure. Estimates of mineral value range from billions to trillions (at current prices) for even small metallic asteroids.

Necron69

about two weeks ago
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Will Lyft and Uber's Shared-Ride Service Hurt Public Transit?

Necron69 You are kidding, right? (237 comments)

In order for Uber/Lyft to be a challenge to public transportation, you first need a public transportation system that is actually useful to a significant number of people. I'm glad folks in Europe, or the US East and West Coasts have good public transit, but the vast majority of people in the US drive their own cars out of necessity.

We've made great strides here in Denver, CO, but I've lived here for almost 40 years and I can count on two hands the number of times I've taken a bus, and my light rail/train rides still stand at zero. Three years from now, the NW light rail line will finally open in the direction I need to go, yet it will still end many miles short of my office.

I know of only one friend who has ever used Uber in Denver, and her New Year's Eve ride across town caused her extreme heartburn at the price. Uber/Lyft are fancy cab services for rich people. They aren't going to put a dent in public transportation (where it exists) anytime in the next decade, if ever.

Necron69

about a month ago
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Microsoft Enters the Wearables Market With 'Band'

Necron69 Re: hmm (135 comments)

Microsoft isn't required for this. In order to qualify for the full company health insurance subsidy next year, all employees at my company now have to sign up for the 'Virgin Pulse' health website, do a (supposedly confidential) health screening, and get issued a step counter that updates your online account via computer or smartphone. You can earn 'HealthMiles' or something like that.

I'm doing it, but I'm not entirely happy about it.

Necron69

about a month and a half ago
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Elon Musk Warns Against Unleashing Artificial Intelligence "Demon"

Necron69 Re:Why is he worried (583 comments)

You give the current car control program far too much credit. At the moment, it doesn't 'see' a 'child' - it sees a change in the pixels returned by the optical scanner, plus reflections from the lidar/radar indicating an object has moved into the road. There probably aren't (currently) sensors to indicate the number of occupants in the car. The _only_ logical thing for the programmer here is to code it to stop the car when an object unexpectedly appears in the road.

Tesla and Musk and (AI) aren't anywhere near the level of abstraction you are describing. These cars work fine on city streets (that have been well mapped out beforehand), with good lane markings, known traffic signs and signals. They don't 'recognize people' or make arbitrary decisions about them. At best, what we have now are expert systems and nowhere near an 'AI'.

Necron69

about 1 month ago
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Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

Necron69 Re:Automation and jobs (720 comments)

No matter how much you want it to be true, corporations do not exist for the purpose of employing people or paying taxes. They just don't.

I don't know how to fix this mess either, but incentives matter. Higher taxes make companies move, and if you stop them moving, you will eventually have fewer companies to tax.

- Necron69

about 2 months ago
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Statisticians Uncover What Makes For a Stable Marriage

Necron69 Re:Or, just don't get married. (447 comments)

My last five years of taxes and my account would strongly disagree with you. If you both work and make good money, you will pay more in taxes after you get married. Without changing our deductions, my wife and I owed $7k the first year we were married, after both getting regular refunds (filing singly) for years beforehand.

Necron69

about 2 months ago
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Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

Necron69 Whatever pays the bills. (547 comments)

My company is wedded at the hip to a test automation system built in Perl that dates back to the early 2000s. I grumbled a bit about continuing to use this system after a review two years ago, but it isn't really that bad, and it pays me six figures a year. Perhaps, like COBOL, the rarer it gets, the more valuable the skills will be?

I'll probably get around to learning Python or Java one of these days. :)

- Necron69

about 2 months ago
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MIT Study Finds Fault With Mars One Colony Concept

Necron69 Re:Practice colony in Antarctica first? (269 comments)

Very good points. If you think about it, humans are absolutely the _last_ 'component' of your colony you want to send up. Every last piece of technology sent along will have to be carefully designed for compatibility, standardization, and have a boatload of spare parts already on the ground before any humans arrive.

It will be a very long time before anyone is mining/smelting or running an electronics fab on Mars. OTOH, think business opportunity! :)

- Necron69

about 2 months ago
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SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts

Necron69 Re:Can someone explain to me (123 comments)

While I'll concede some truth to what you say about NASA, with SpaceX (and competitors) we will soon have bootstrapped the manned spaceflight industry enough such that no one will care anymore whether people like you make blanket statements about the value of manned spaceflight.

The only people's opinions that will matter will be the paying customers. Presumably, those willing (and waiting) to pay for a manned launch think there is a purpose and value to it.

If even a short trip off this tiny rock of a planet becomes affordable in my lifetime, I'll be buying.

- Necron69

about 3 months ago
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Grad Student Rigs Cheap Alternative To $1,000 Air Purifiers In Smoggy China

Necron69 Re:assholes everywhere (182 comments)

If you'd ever sat in a Beijing traffic jam next to their monstrous, smoke belching diesel trucks, you'd know that factories and power plants are only a part of the problem.

I've been there and air filters or not, I could not live in Beijing with my asthma. One can only imagine the future lung disease/cancer rates we are going to see.

- Necron69

about 5 months ago
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New Treatment Stops Type II Diabetes

Necron69 Re:There's another treatment that stops most T2 (253 comments)

There isn't enough science yet to be conclusive on this, but for me personally, cutting out stevia from my diet entirely caused me to lose 13lbs in a single month.

IMHO, all zero-calorie sweeteners can screw up your metabolism, whether artificial or natural.

- Necron69

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: It's 2014 -- Which New Technologies Should I Learn?

Necron69 Re:Stick to what you know (387 comments)

I'd stick to embedded systems. There is more and more of it all the time, and a lot of it runs Linux/C. I graduated in '93, and moved to embedded systems (switches) six years ago. I really only program in C and Perl, but I make well over six figures, work only 40 hours a week, and live nowhere near Silicon Valley.

Let the kids chase the hot new stuff.

- Necron69

about a year ago
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How Good Are Charter Schools For the Public School System?

Necron69 My experience (715 comments)

About 10 years ago, I had moved all three of my kids to a local charter school after frustration with a particularly bad teacher at the local public elementary school, and the seeming unwillingness of the school administration to do anything about it. The local schools had also all switched to the 'new' matrix math method, which was particularly annoying to me.

For the first year or so, everything was fine. Then a series of administration scandals and teaching problems sent us running back to the public schools.

The problems:
1. The school administration decided it was ok to have a school staff member serve as security and carry a concealed weapon. Regardless of your stance on concealed carry, this was illegal in Colorado and against school district regulations.
2. The school principal and her husband, also a school employee, apparently embezzled over $50k from the school. They were forced to resign in disgrace and were being investigated for criminal charges.
3. The last straw was that in November of that year, my son's math teacher resigned for a 'real' teaching job. Through the remainder of that year, my son ended up having SEVEN different math teachers. He finished the year doing terrible in math, and never really recovered from that.

We later found out that staff turnover was something like 70% a year, and that the average teacher pay at the school was around $28k. (the lowest teacher pay in the district). Of course all the teachers were only there on short term contracts while they waited to get a real teaching job with a pension and benefits somewhere else.

This is no way to run an education system, and I won't be experimenting with charter schools again.

Necron69

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Life Organization With Free Software?

Necron69 Re:Or, stay low tech ... (133 comments)

I'm likewise still using lab notebooks for taking notes at work.

As a bonus, said notebooks are resistant to all known forms of remote NSA eves dropping. For extra security, encrypt it with the 'cursive' algorithm. The kids these days will be completely baffled. :)

Necron69

about a year ago
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How To Avoid a Scramble For the Moon and Its Resources

Necron69 Re:AVOID?? (365 comments)

There is no environment to protect on the moon. It is dead, irradiated rocks and dirt, already pockmarked by billions of years of meteorite craters. Strip mine the hell out of it for whatever useful things we can find. Who the hell care what it _looks_ like?

It is lunacy like this that makes me realize that most "environmentalists" are really just anti-human.

Necron69

about a year ago
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How To Avoid a Scramble For the Moon and Its Resources

Necron69 AVOID?? (365 comments)

Why the HELL would you want to AVOID a scramble for Lunar resources? This is something to actively encourage, to get some permanent human settlements off this rock.

Every man/country for themselves, and may the best and fastest effort win.

Necron69

about a year ago
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How the Lessons of Columbine Saved Lives At Arapahoe High School

Necron69 Re:A tragedy in any other country is success here (894 comments)

All of those same legal provisions are in place here in Colorado. The shooter used a shotgun, not a handgun or an assault rifle. Being a legal adult, he legally bought the gun after passing his mandatory background check.

Background checks can't stop a first time offender with no criminal record, or mental health history.

Necron69

1 year,3 days
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Critics Reassess Starship Troopers As a Misunderstood Masterpiece

Necron69 Re:Military propaganda movie for home consumption (726 comments)

Although I enjoyed for what it was, it is an abomination to try to read anything of Heinlein's book in it. Only the vaguest of plot details and characters carry through and the message of Heinlein is completely, and totally lost in Verhoeven's film.

In the book, the 'bugs' were a highly technologically advanced race, who most certainly were a threat and most certainly had spaceflight. They had cities, for crying out loud.

Completely gone from the movie is the time the main character spends in officer training school. All lessons of values, honor, duty and morals are just gone from the movie.

BTW, the _Mobile_ Infantry is supposed to be mechanized with high tech, powered battle armor that puts them more on caliber with a tank division. They are not foot soldiers.

All that being said, the movie most clearly was a farce, but it was a terrible one and has very little in common with Heinlein's book of the same name.

Necron69

about a year ago

Submissions

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Itanium Returns for Another Round

Necron69 Necron69 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Necron69 (35644) writes "Alright you haters, warm up your fingers and unleash yourselves, as Itanium is back for another round. Intel has finally unleashed the Tukwila processor, with systems from multiple vendors soon to follow. "Intel argues that the new chip will be more attractive to enterprises and scientists as it now shares components with its more popular x86 counterparts. The Itanium 9300, now includes Intel's QuickPath Interconnect (QPI) and other common infrastructure seen in its Xeon line of server chips. The new CPU also links to DDR3 memory." IIRC, Tukwila is said to be socket compatible with Xeon now, so is this the last gasp of Itanium, or the start of the Revolution?? (Disclosure: I spent four years working on Itanium Linux systems for HP, and I'm kind of fond of them. I'm looking forward to seeing what HP is going to come out with since I left.)"
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