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Helsinki Aims To Obviate Private Cars

PPalmgren Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (274 comments)

This is partly influenced by the local climate. Finland is COLD, usually between 70-80 during the summer, and it gets unbearably cold during the winter. Colder environments favor centralized populations. Northern Finland is also a marshy mess of lakes that can't evaporate due to the climate, covered in mosquitos, similar to Canada which also has very desolate northern areas.

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Would You Pay For Websites Without Trolls?

PPalmgren This assumes money = intelligence, nope (381 comments)

Trolls will even pop up in small communities of 20 or less given enough time. All it takes is someone convinced enough in their view, at odds with the majority in the community, and stubborn enough to stand their ground and ignore rational argument (common among people backed into a corner). Human nature creates trolls, ananymity only makes the problem more visible.

4 days ago
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Feds: Red Light Camera Firm Paid For Chicago Official's Car, Condo

PPalmgren Chicago's finest (115 comments)

The city has an endemic culture of corruption, officials should be treated with skepticism in all affairs.

4 days ago
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Giant Greek Tomb Discovered

PPalmgren Re:meh (164 comments)

I understand the frustration, hell, my first course in egineering, they devoted a big chunk to unit conversions. I just get aggrivated when year after year, story after story, someone starts complaining about units and we get a huge back-patting session where everyone congratulates each for not being from the US. It takes less time to press ctrl+t and type '5ft 6in to cm' in the top bar for a translation than it does to type out a whiny soap-box post like the type we commonly get.

There are two facts that need to be taken into acount when it comes to unit conversions. First, a story that targets a local demographic is usually going to be in the units that demographic relates to. This was a UK story, but even still, imperial units are commonly used even if they are 'officially' converted, hence the yards. A different matter could be made for asking the Slashdot editors to add them to summaries, but that's another tree to bark up. Also, partially in relation to the first point, a unit conversion of the US will probably not be fully implemented in our lifetime. Canada and the UK converted decades ago and the non-standard measures are still fairly common in everyday language and food.

I just get aggrivated when a story's comment section gets overrun with this crap. I find it obnoxious and off-topic. I don't ask for a conversion for perspective when people's heights or temperatures are posted in metric, I convert myself and expect others to not be lazy.

about a week ago
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Soccer Talent Scouting Application Teams Up With Video Game Publisher

PPalmgren Re:Not Sports (39 comments)

Most large leagues, at least in the US sans MLB, have some sort of salary cap structure. This means one team can't spend beyond a certain amount on players in order to keep competition closer to parity, which makes the games/tournaments more exciting and hence drives revenue through more involved fanbases.

about a week ago
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Giant Greek Tomb Discovered

PPalmgren Re:meh (164 comments)

If you want rough estimates, its simple. If its in feet, divide by 3 for meters. If its in yards, yards = meters. No, its not perfect, but its close enough, within 2% margin of error.

Its not going to change any time soon, and no amount of bitching is going to make it change any time soon, so get over it. I find it funny that the bitching usually comes from Europe, where language is about 'cultural identity' but you have to speak english to be functional in larger businesses. Using the same logic, we should eliminate Dutch, Italian, Greek, Finnish, Swedish, and so on because they're a minority method of communication.

about a week ago
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Slashdot Asks: Should Schooling Be Year-Round?

PPalmgren Re:Ski resorts (421 comments)

North Carolina has both ski resorts and beaches. The winter tourism markets are dwarfed in size, options, and revenue by the summer tourism options. There's only so many ski resorts, and only so many winter tourism options.

about two weeks ago
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Interviews: James Cameron and John Bruno Answer Your Questions

PPalmgren I, for one, am dissapointed (24 comments)

Dissapointed that they didn't ask the question about him raising the bar down there.

about two weeks ago
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With Chinese Investment, Nicaraguan Passage Could Dwarf Panama Canal

PPalmgren Re:Not so fast (322 comments)

>So - you're saying the expansion is becoming obsolete before it's even been completed? Not to mention China would probably like to have shipping lanes to Europe that are outside direct US control. And Nicaragua would no doubt appreciate having a powerful economic ally interested in keeping it out of US diplomatic control.

Not obsolete for quite a while. The US East Coast is farily small volume in international shipping. When these new ships come out, they don't suddenly replace every ship on the market. They cost in excess of $100m each and take forever to build, a ship order of 8-10 can take 5 years and there's only a few companies capable of building them. Meanwhile, ships last up to 40 years. The biggest ships get used on the highest volume trade lanes (Asia-Europe, Transpacific), the previous bigger ships get pushed down a tier, and so on. It can take half a decade to a decade to build a shipping terminal, several years to deepen with dredging for a shipping terminal, and is incredibly expensive to upgrade equipment at current locations. The biggest problem with these big ships though is that they have to run near full capacity to actually be profitable to run, and you simply can't do that on the East Coast right now because of market segmentation and lack of volume.

The economic interest in central American canals is not about trading with Europe for China, they can do that through the Suez Canal which is closer, cheaper, and handles ULCVs. The market for the canals are the US East coast, the carribean, and northern Brazil. The ships currently on those trade lanes are not very big, but more importantly, less in demand than Asia-Europe trades, so it won't get priority on the new big ships. Any significant change in that dynamic would take decades, as would the infastructure to support it.

about two weeks ago
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With Chinese Investment, Nicaraguan Passage Could Dwarf Panama Canal

PPalmgren Not so fast (322 comments)

The panama canal is already undergoing expansion and will be able to handle all but a few of the largest ship sizes and should be completed in about a year or so. Most east coast ports aren't dredged deep enough to handle the megaships anyway,and by the time they are, its likely the northern passages around Canada are expected to be open due to global warming. The biggest ships are only deployed on asia-europe routes not because of accessibility but because of demand. It also isn't much further of a trip from Asia to NJ via the Suez Canal rather than the Panama canal.

about two weeks ago
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Tesla's Already Shopping For More Office Space

PPalmgren Re:Check out Detroit (100 comments)

Sorry, but this is not true. The main reason California has those warehouses is location, location, location. It is more expensive to do business in California than anywhere, but is required because Los Angeles and Long Beach are the two busiest port complexes in the US and the Panama Canal currrently can't support the ships that call the west coast. We get most of our imports from the Pacific in bulk shipments, then a lot of companies will warehouse them and create more localized loads for inland transport. This is why most large logistics centers are located near port cities or inland rail hubs like Chicago.

California, New Jersey, and New York have the worst state income and unemployment taxes in the country.

about two weeks ago
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Windows XP Falls Below 25% Market Share, Windows 8 Drops Slightly

PPalmgren 'flat' is about touch interfaces (336 comments)

When looking at an icon/button with a flat edge vs. one with a beveled edge, the beveled edge gives the impression that the clickable area itself is smaller. This wasn't an issue with a cursor, but for touch you want the biggest possible touch areas for items without looking goofy. While its true that the area itself isn't really smaller, making it appear smaller makes people more hesitant with their presses which subconciously makes the UI feel 'slower.' I beleive this is why companies have migrated to the flat look.

about three weeks ago
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Psychology's Replication Battle

PPalmgren The problem with soft science experiments (172 comments)

There are plenty of good psychology experiments/case studies that produce a lot of really useful information and are repeatable (albeit over a very long period of time). The problem is there are also a lot of complete and utter ass psychology experiments. It is really really hard to produce a good study that provides useful results in soft sciences, and in cases of psychology, they take a very long time and sometimes a lot of money to complete. Yes, they have to account for a lot of variables and exclude them via statistical analysis, but the ones that do it right do it exceptionally well.

I used to think negatively on those types of studies until I actually took the time to read one while helping my girlfriend with a paper. I was amazed at the level of detail and the amount of effort they took to isolate the results into meaningful data.

about three weeks ago
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San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant Dismantling Will Cost $4.4 Billion, Take 20 Years

PPalmgren Cost (343 comments)

To put it simply, the cost of fuel for a nuclear reactor is miniscule in the overall scheme of things. Coal, while costing less per ton, requires a LOT more fuel to produce the same amount of power.

Well, why is thorium a hard bargain then if fuel isn't a big deal? Yield. Money is spent on nuclear reactors in the buildout phase plus the monitoring/safety and maintenance of the plant, not the fuel. Using thorium doesn't significantly reduce these costs, but significantly reduces the power yield. You can only make reactors so big, and making more reactors cost more than making a higher yield reactor.

about three weeks ago
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Student Uses Oculus Rift and Kinect To Create Body Swap Illusion

PPalmgren Antidepressants part of the problem? (88 comments)

"Fat? No, I'm efficient!"

Though I agree in sentiment, there's still the case that if you don't eat more than X weight of food, you can't put on more than X amount of weight.

The ones who are happy being fat, fine. The ones who are trying to lose weight and can't because of their "hunger"... that's the problem. Because it's hardly ever a celery that they pig out on, but chocolate and other high-fat foods.

It's still down, in the end, to a question of willpower. If you want to slim, you'll allow yourself to feel a little more hungry and - at the same time - find ways to cure the hunger that don't involve fat.

Your gut is just as adaptable as any other part of you - it can learn, given time. And though I don't want to trivialise the effort of losing weight, especially if you have medical conditions or even just suffer from the inherent medical conditions of being overweight (such as it being more difficult on your joints to exercise), there's still a willpower game at play here.

I'm sure there are people who struggle 24 hours a day against hunger and lose. And I'm sure there are a hundred times as many who win for as long as they want to and then give up. And I'm sure there are a hundred times as many again who say they are trying, and don't even bother.

There are weight-loss TV programs where they "stalk" the contestants. They know they could be watched. They know they have cameras in their house. They know they have to cut down. But still they have midnight snacks and go shopping for high-calorie food (if it's not in the house, at least you have to expend more effort than normal to go get it if you have a craving!).

Not everyone is a lard-ass. But equally not every overweight person struggles against an unbeatable desire to eat only high-calorie food.

I've found antidepressants have negatively impacted my ability to keep my body where I want it to be, as odd as that sounds.

I'm taking an antidepressant for OCD problems, and since I've been taking it, I've had a significant reduction in trichotillomania (hair pulling) as well as other OCD problems and face numbness from extreme anxiety. However, I find that the antidepressant has neutered the highs as well as balancing the lows. I find I'm more complacent with things that bother me about myself, muting the motivation to correct them, and also killing most of the endorphin rush from exercising. Its a vicious cycle, because as you gain weight you get upset about your weight/wardrobe, and thus the original reason you were taking the antidepressant is replaced by your new unhappiness about your weight. I've tried to ween off the antidepressant but the OCD came back with a vengance as well as crippling levels of anxiety because I'm no longer used to it.

Its like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. Staying in shape was much easier without the antidepressant, but functioning and managing my OCD was much harder. I guess where I'm going from this anecdote is that the heavy use/overperscription of antidepressants may be causing others to get in this frustrating conundrum.

about three weeks ago
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Free Copy of the Sims 2 Contains SecuROM

PPalmgren 'First hit is free' model (234 comments)

Lets be real here, the only reason they're releasing this for free is because The Sims 4 is coming out in a few months. With EA, there's always another motive.

Someone should write a limerick that highlights all the good game companies EA has killed or corporatized, it wouldn't be hard but it'd sure be lengthy. Oh how I miss the old Maxis.

about three weeks ago
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Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

PPalmgren You can pry my Droid4 from my cold, dead hands (544 comments)

Best hardware keyboard I've ever used, fully QWERTY with a number row and very good tactile feedback/feel and spacing. My older brother mentioned that he thought he could type faster on his new touchscreen phone after about 6 months of having it, and I told him prove it. He grabbed a book and said type the back of it verbatim, so we did. I finished it when he was about 2/3rd done, and he uses that phone all the time for business emails where I use mine more casually.

I think the option most people are going now are case-keyboards, but they are only available for a limited subset of phones and aren't as seamlessly integrated as the slide-outs.

about three weeks ago
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eSports Starting To Go Mainstream

PPalmgren Re:Well, to be fair... (116 comments)

I liken it to motor sports. Its one level of abstraction from direct physical involvement like most of the major sports. Driver masters the skill of driving which is used to control a car for racing instead of racing themselves. Players control an avatar for competing instead of themselves directly. I find eSports intrigueing but driving to be insanely boring so your mileage may vary.

I'd argue that level of gaming definitely requires a type of physical skill, though it'd be closer to badminton or chess than that of driving. Its about reaction time, quick twitch reflexes, and teamwork/strategy.

I agree on the classification though, and think the term sport is the root of the issue. What makes these things exciting isn't usually the sport action itself, but the fact that the sport/league is set up in a way that enables competition. These are a competition, as is poker, diving, football, and hell even debate, and should be called competition. I think the use of sport in its place is simply because competition is a mouthful and most competitions are sports.

about a month ago

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