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Comments

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Panel Says U.S. Not Ready For Inevitable Arctic Oil Spill

Peristaltic Re:Same old cause (95 comments)

Like I said.

about 4 months ago
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Panel Says U.S. Not Ready For Inevitable Arctic Oil Spill

Peristaltic Re:Same old cause (95 comments)

Too many humans. Cut it down to 1-2 billion and a lot of problems just disappear.

You first, motherfucker.

about 4 months ago
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Microsoft Confirms It Is Dropping Windows 8.1 Support

Peristaltic Re:Features are risky (575 comments)

Yea we should never get new features, as they introduce risk. Of course we cannot have any risk in our lives, especially in software.

Or maybe Microsoft should just provide support for their OS.

Maybe if the new features were worth a shit, the risks would be worth it.

about 4 months ago
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Facebook Buying Oculus VR For $2 Billion

Peristaltic Nope (535 comments)

Too bad. Through my use of the Rift, facebook will find a way to monetize me and what I do beyond the purchase price of the Rift. That's what they do; I can't see Facebook's culture changing anytime soon. Nope.

about 5 months ago
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Engine Data Reveals That Flight 370 Flew On For Hours After It "Disappeared"

Peristaltic Re:Already denied (382 comments)

That thought crossed my mind as well.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do I Change Tech Careers At 30?

Peristaltic Re:It is never "too late" (451 comments)

Not really... they have wheelchair dancing competitions... it's really quite amazing.

There you have it- There may be fewer legitimate reasons not to try than I thought. Thanks.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do I Change Tech Careers At 30?

Peristaltic Re:It is never "too late" (451 comments)

Good luck- Hell, you may want to change again in 10 or 15 years, you never know. You'll always find someone that says you're too old. Don't listen.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do I Change Tech Careers At 30?

Peristaltic Re:It is never "too late" (451 comments)

Whoa, did you know if you diff those ages you get a pythagorean triple (5,12,13)?

I.... I.... Nevermind. Sometimes I forget where I'm posting. Did that just pop into your head, or did you start working the math on the numbers, or what? And, why?

Not that I can prove it, but the ages represent:

35: My wife, who was a regional manager for a big pharma firm, hated it but we -thought- we needed the money. She went back to school for interior design / architecture, and now runs a successful business

40: Me. Not too much of a leap, but went from corporate IT consulting to biomedical informatics at a university, after going back to school for a MS

52: A friend of mine who left civil engineering to be a general aviation flight instructor.

65: A friend of my wife and her mother that went from a reasonably successful career in real estate into law. After graduating from law school, she went to work for a non-profit that worked with children or something like that, I'm not sure.

I forgot my cousin, but I don't remember how old he was when he made the switch. Ironically, after flying OV-10's, F4's and F15's... with the all of the requisite close calls endemic to the profession... a drunk driver killed him after he'd been flying 747's for a while.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do I Change Tech Careers At 30?

Peristaltic It is never "too late" (451 comments)

Is it too late for me to think about this?

It is never too late. I have known people that have jumped into unrelated careers, successfully, at 35, 40, 52, and 65.

How much effort are you willing to put forth? Are you willing to temporarily forgo some of the pleasures in your life to which you've become accustomed?

Are you willing to immerse yourself in the new career, both at work and after hours? Ask yourself and answer truthfully: do you truly want to make a change, or are you just thinking... "wouldn't it be nice if"? The answer may be painful, and sometimes you won't know until you're there- Are you willing to take that risk?

Are you willing to risk the possibility of having to start at a lower level on the pay scale in your new field? I have a cousin that graduated from the Air Force Academy, flew F-15's for almost 10 years, and after accepting an engineering job at a defense contractor, quickly realized that he couldn't stand that type of job. With a wife and 3 daughters to support, he left to start a career at an airline.... at the time (mid-80's), he had to start as a flight engineer, at about 20k / year. With his love of flight focusing his resolve, and with the support of his wife (she took a second job), he persevered in a boring, low-paying job, staring at a panel of guages in a jet... but he stuck to it, and over a number of years ended up as a 747 long-haul pilot for Northwest, making just under 200k / year.

You must decide if you're ready to commit, with all that that implies. If you feel drawn to whatever it is you're thinking of doing, and you're ready to commit, there are few legitimate reasons to hold back- I would say that if you have no legs and desire to win a ballroom dancing championship, you may have a legitimate reason not to compete, but you could still find a way to excel, in some role, in this activity if you truly had the desire.

about 6 months ago
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Vast Surveillance Network Powered By Repo Men

Peristaltic Re:Shazbot! (352 comments)

I wasn't focusing on the technological aspect of it, even though technology does enable the large volume of data captures.

I guess what I was trying to say was that instead of one (or two, or three....) capture(s) of John's car's location in a public space, there is, in this situation, a concerted effort being made to capture all of the locations, whether by video or notebook. I was implying that the "nuances" of volume and intent of the behavior should be considered, and not so much the technological means with which the behavior is executed- and by saying this, I'm not demanding that the repo company's behavior be condemned out of hand, even though I personally don't like what they're doing.

The situation is a relative microcosm of organizational behavior that's becoming common in our society, and should have all the pieces picked apart, laid out on the table and thought about very carefully. The laws and customs surrounding the observations of others in public were cast back in a time where it was relatively uncommon to follow a bunch of people and write down all of their locations, then sell the information to someone else- it may have happened now and then, but not often.

Everyone's trying to couch their arguments, for or against, in the context of what "public" and "private" used to mean- I say that we need to scrub back down to the metal and reconsider what these terms mean in 2014. You know, even as I write that, a feeling surfaces, unbidden, of indignation that I might likely be screwed under any new definitions, but these terms still need new, solid definitions within our new technological context. That context is very different now, and instead of trying to bolt a modern suspension and computer-controlled engine onto a Ford Model T, we need to design a new car that fits the new world we live in.

I'm saying that while I personally feel that mass collection and analysis of my public locations unethically exploits our outdated laws and customs that were designed for a different world: Enough of the knee-jerking, in either direction. It's time that we stop, take our time and really think this stuff through, make new laws that fit the times, strictly enforce these laws, and move on.

As a side-note and completely unsubstantiated, I get the feeling that the organizations with skin in the game would rather keep things in flux, on the off-chance that any new laws addressing the issue might curtail their activities.

about 6 months ago
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Vast Surveillance Network Powered By Repo Men

Peristaltic Re:Shazbot! (352 comments)

If they have an honest belief that you're an insane serial killer who will open up on the next person you see, they can take your ass out. If they turn out to be wrong your family will get a really nice settlement check, but that doesn't mean they all get arrested for murder.

Maybe they should?

I mean, if the County Sheriff, looking for an insane serial killer, executes a no-knock warrant on my house in error, then storms into my bedroom and kills me because "I may have been reaching for a gun".... The shooter(s), as well as the idiot(s) that screwed up identifying the correct street address should be prosecuted for murder- they should have to take responsibility for their actions. Prosecutions for murder in this type of case have not, and will never, ever happen. Ever.

I think it likely that in the same scenario, if I was scared awake by someone kicking down my door at 3AM, and fearing a home invasion / robbery I grabbed a rifle and killed the men barging into my bedroom, I would likely spend many, many years in jail, if not for murder then for some other charge.

From reading about a fair number of scenarios just like this, it seems that while law enforcement would prefer for this not to happen, once it actually does... LE closes ranks to protect the guilty at the expense of justice- just like the bad guys do. There might be a lot fewer screw-ups if they actually had to take responsibility.

about 6 months ago
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Vast Surveillance Network Powered By Repo Men

Peristaltic Re:Shazbot! (352 comments)

So, you're saying it's immoral, unacceptable, or unaccepted for me to recognize John's car parked out front of the office, and then (if asked) to say "I think he's here today, I saw his car out front in the public parking lot..."?

This is a good point, however society must decide what differences exist between your scenario above, and the recording and permanent storage of all (most?) of John's car's locations via automated recognition technology. The information stored for John's car includes not only discrete locations but information about John derived by the mining/analysis of patterns certainly contained therein as well.

I think the subject may be more nuanced than you imply.

about 6 months ago
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Vast Surveillance Network Powered By Repo Men

Peristaltic Re:Shazbot! (352 comments)

Goddammit, this shit needs to stop NOW.

We need to establish the understanding that there is a significant distinction between OBSERVING and RECORDING.

Yes, it is reasonable to say that you shouldn't expect privacy in a public setting, but this has historically been in the context of observation, not recording. The ubiquity and accessibility of modern recording devices completely alters the dynamic. Observation forgets, relinquishes and carries with it an element of humanity. Recording is cold, factual and unforgiving. This can be useful for some things (court proceedings, for example), but not everything; probably not most things.

No, you shouldn't expect privacy from individuals or the press. Yes, should be able to expect privacy from government and businesses who make recordings to be used against you.

Context is everything.

Agreed- I can imagine, however, that if the ball started rolling to enact restrictions, law enforcement would find a way to twist the common-sense arguments you make above, in order to legally restrict the public from recording officers.

about 6 months ago
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Wolfram Language Demo Impresses

Peristaltic Re:sparse is good, but (216 comments)

Stephen Wolfram invented a New Kind of Science, that has unlocked the mysteries of the Universe. What have you done?

I know stuff about tanks.

about 6 months ago
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Will Peggy the Programmer Be the New Rosie the Riveter?

Peristaltic Re:because it's a hostile environment (333 comments)

When's the last time you watched a WNBA game?

When the Houston Comets were in the 2005 playoffs, I went to one of their games... SuperBanana, it might have great for some, but it didn't have the energy or quality of play that we enjoyed watching the Rockets. Neither I, my wife nor my friends ever had the desire to pay to watch another WNBA game. Sorry, just say'n.

about 6 months ago
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Horseshoe Crabs Are Bled Alive To Create an Unparalleled Biomedical Technology

Peristaltic Re:Rabbits were used first (159 comments)

One last bit of trivia: this isn't really news. I mean, I obviously find it cool, but seriously, 1960 was the discovery. Beta isn't bad enough, now they're altering the content too?

I, for one, cannot wait until the story headlined: "Justin Beiber's Totally RAD new computer!" hits the front page.

Maybe a new poll: "What color is your iPad?"

about 6 months ago
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Zero Point: The First 360-Degree Movie Made For the Oculus Rift

Peristaltic Re:Zero point to this movie... (53 comments)

You make good points, but the ratio of the amount of hype to count of devices in people's hands is a bit skewed, no?

I'm sure the product will be great someday, but I'm getting sick of hearing about it.

Every time I hear yet another blurb about the Oculus Rift and The Wonders That May be Had, I start to think of the Moller air car or Duke Nukem.

about 6 months ago
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Ohio Attempting To Stop Tesla From Selling Cars, Again

Peristaltic Re: It's disgusting how much control... (387 comments)

Let me see if I can pull this out of my head correctly: I get what you're saying, and it brings to mind questions I've pondered over the years (which may or may not apply to Tesla's business model).

There exist many examples of what you've described, in many industries. When someone pops up with what looks like a better process or product, something that might yield great benefit, it often simultaneously disrupts an industry and the economics dependent upon it- people and systems change slowly and painfully. Often, existing industry will buy out the innovators and sit on their work for this reason.

How do innovative concepts that have not only enormous potential for profit, but enormous potential to benefit society as well, concepts such as electric vehicles with nation-wide battery-swap stations, thorium reacters, etc., get implemented on a useful scale?

How does society-changing, profitable innovation take hold while at the same time minimizing impact on those people and industries that are reluctant/slow to change?

I don't have answers for either of these questions, and if I did, I'm just positive that Captains of Industry look for answers from idiots posting on Slashdot.

As a semi-related side-rant, I guess what I find discouraging is that, taking the energy industry as an example, unimaginably wealthy corporations and shareholders seem to be content with a slow-motion slide into distopian decay, as long as they're the last ones to go. They could, albeit with significant, careful investment over time in the technologies mentioned above, maintain profits and control, but over a type of industry that has huge untapped potential as well as societal and environmental benefits far beyond what exists now.

about 6 months ago
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Ohio Attempting To Stop Tesla From Selling Cars, Again

Peristaltic Re: It's disgusting how much control... (387 comments)

...break the laws enacted to protect...

Excuse me- ...break the rules enacted to protect...

about 7 months ago
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Ohio Attempting To Stop Tesla From Selling Cars, Again

Peristaltic Re: It's disgusting how much control... (387 comments)

Everybody else has played by those rules for years even though the rules themselves are fairly stupid.

Tesla is crying because they don't want to play by the same rules everybody else has to and trying to pretend they are innovative because of it.

Wow- So you're slamming Tesla with an argument of: "Innovate, but make sure you don't break the laws enacted to protect the status quo / artificially prop up an old business model.".... Isn't this one of the characteristics associated with innovation?

about 7 months ago

Submissions

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Piezoelectric system replicates muscle motion of human eye

Peristaltic Peristaltic writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Peristaltic (650487) writes "Researchers at the Georgia Tech Bio-Robotics and Human Modeling Laboratory are using muscle-like piezoelectric actuators to mimic the motion of the human eye. While the device currently allows a single-degree of freedom, plans include a multi-degree of freedom device that accurately replicates human eye motion for use in robotic systems."
Link to Original Source
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Cyanide-producing GM grass linked to Texas cattle deaths

Peristaltic Peristaltic writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Peristaltic (650487) writes "Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are trying to determine if an unexpected mutation in a popular GM grass, Tifton 85, is responsible for the sudden deaths of a small herd of cattle in Elgin, Texas three weeks ago. The grass has been used for grazing since 1992 without incident, however after a severe drought last year in Texas, the grass started producing cyanide in sufficient quantities to kill a small herd of cattle in Elgin, Texas. Testing has found the cyanide-producing grass in nearby fields as well.

This latest incident once again highlights the debate regarding the benefits vs. the risks of using gmo in agriculture"

Link to Original Source
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Apache vs. Open Source

Peristaltic Peristaltic writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Peristaltic (650487) writes "Does the Apache Software Foundation still embody the values championed at its inception 12 years ago, or has it evolved to more closely resemble the corporate bureaucracies from which it has tried to distance itself? There seems to be a growing consensus for the latter. From the article:

The problem here is less about git and more about the chasm between Apache and the new culture of open source. There is a growing community of young new open source developers that Apache continues to distance itself from and as the ASF plants itself firmly in this position the growing community drifts farther away.

"

Link to Original Source
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Peristaltic Peristaltic writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Peristaltic (650487) writes "I've seen some cool articles in Instructables detailing how to create various electronic gadgets. A couple of these as well as the odd DIY kit have come to life on my kitchen table. While it's satisfying to see the things work after time spent soldering, I would love to be able to take the next step beyond the basics of component functionality, i.e. a resistor does this; a capacitor does that. Forest Mimm's books have been helpful towards this end...but it's time to move forward. Every month or so, I read here on Slashdot a plea for help getting started with, or expanding someone's knowledge of programming. O.k., I'd like to make that plea for help with electronics theory & circuit building. I've found plenty of references on the web, Amazon, etc., but can someone who's already taken this trip outline what has and hasn't worked for them?"

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