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Drought Inspires a Boom In Pseudoscience, From Rain Machines To 'Water Witches'

Pinkfud Re:A fool and their money (260 comments)

Okay, I'm a geologist. It happens that I live in an intermontane basin filled with alluvium, and I know the water table is about 30 feet down at my location. If I were so inclined, I could take a couple of wires or a willow stick, walk around a bit for show, then "find" a place. I'd tell you to dig 30 feet and you'll find water - and I'd be right. The knowledge this takes is not that hard to acquire, especially if you want to work in a specific region. I suspect many of the "professional" water dowsers are simply doing that and making a buck from credulous buyers. That said, I have seen people do some freaky things with dowsing rods. As a scientist I have to doubt any mystical source, but I admit having had a few WTF moments courtesy of one old fellow I used to know. He would find ore veins - where I knew they actually were, and he couldn't have because I hadn't shared my survey findings. But guess what? Ore veins do affect both the magnetic and gravitational fields. I don't completely discount an ability by some people to detect that - after all, some birds apparently do.

3 days ago

Fermilab Begins Testing Holographic Universe Theory

Pinkfud Re:Let me try... (247 comments)

The universe is a sphere only 20 meters across. It looks bigger, but that's an illusion. It's done with mirrors. Large objects like the Earth fit in it because the universe is bigger inside than it is outside.

5 days ago

FTC To Trap Robocallers With Open Source Software

Pinkfud Re:Really? (125 comments)

Me too. Rachel is still a constant nuisance. Maybe it's a ghost...

about a month and a half ago

My most recent energy-saving bulbs last ...

Pinkfud Re:2-year CFLs (278 comments)

Yep, I've yet to have one last a year. I've gone through 20 or so in the last 3 years. It doesn't seem to matter whether I buy the cheap ones or the most expensive. Within a month or two they go yellowish, then quit soon after. I've also had 3 explode, throwing glass shards all over the room. That isn't much fun. Oh, I guess there IS one that has lasted. That one never gets turned off, and while it's very yellow, it's still working. Maybe running them 24/7 is the answer, but then there isn't as much power savings. Looked at LEDs in the store, but none of them has light that's even close to satisfactory. The choice seems to be blue or yellow, and I hate both.

about 2 months ago

One-a-Day-Compiles: Good Enough For Government Work In 1983

Pinkfud Re:1983 was not the "punched card era" (230 comments)

We still used them in 83 where I was. We had to code by hand on coding forms, then we had to make our own punch cards on IBM Model 29s. The target system, an IBM 360, had a tempermental card reader that would sometimes spew the cards all over the place. Gathering them up and resorting them was a real treat. But we did get to see if it compiled on the spot. Whether it gave the desired output, well that was another matter.

about 4 months ago

Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

Pinkfud Re:I don't think he means that literally/absolutel (581 comments)

I spent a decade as a coal miner in my youth. I even earned a license as a blasting supervisor. And I can code. I don't code for a living, but yeah, I can code. I find the implication that coal miners are somehow too dumb to learn anything else mildly offensive. Many coal miners are the product of a family that has done the same work for generations, and just kind of inherited the job. Same with farmers. But that doesn't mean they are incapable of doing anything else.

about 5 months ago

Crowdsourcing Confirms: Websites Inaccessible on Comcast

Pinkfud Re:So, don't use comcast DNS (349 comments)

Yes, I recently installed a new router and just let it make its own connection. Soon I had DNS problems, which reminded me that I had switched to Google DNS on the old router for that very reason. A quick fix solved the problem. My ISP is Cox, not Comcast, but they also seem to have a very flaky DNS service.

about 6 months ago

Old cellphones, in my household ...

Pinkfud Re:Properly Recycled (171 comments)

They have quite a bit of gold inside.

about 7 months ago

Citizen Science: Who Makes the Rules?

Pinkfud Re:Amateur chemistry is all but impossible now (189 comments)

$50 per pint, and it's technical grade. I used to get a case of 4 5-liter jugs of top reagent grade for ~$90. But even so, it's illegal to possess it here.

about 8 months ago

Citizen Science: Who Makes the Rules?

Pinkfud Re:Amateur chemistry is all but impossible now (189 comments)

Not just hobby chemists either. I'm a geologist with a minor in analytic chemistry. I used to have an assay lab where I could run samples for qualitative analysis. That's in the crapper now. You have to jump through hoops to get things like con nitric acid, and just forget anything like potassium cyanide. And if you do manage to get supplies, they make you a target for a raid any time the local cops get a bug up their ass. So no more lab. :(

about 8 months ago

A Year After Ban On Loud TV Commercials: Has It Worked?

Pinkfud Re:It's not the commercials. (288 comments)

I have Cox, and by far the loudest and most obnoxious commercials are THEIRS! They have this guy who screams everything, goes COX BUNDLE!! over and over, etc. It does annoy me, sometimes to the point of grabbing for the mute button.

about 9 months ago

Where Does America's Fear Come From?

Pinkfud Re:Is it fear ? (926 comments)

I think you're exactly right. The Bush Administration used 9/11 to gain the level of power and control that allowed them to pass the Patriot Act and create the DHS with all its Draconian aspects, and now the Obama Administration is either unable or unwilling to change it. Do you want to fight terrorism? Well, you don't gain a damn thing by giving the terrorists what they want! Their name says it all - their goal is to put their enemies in FEAR of them. By running scared and giving up our freedom in the name of 'security', we have given them a major victory. It needs to stop. We the people need to MAKE it stop. Because where we are heading is ever deeper into the swamp, and in that swamp there lies nothing but mud and snakes.

about 10 months ago

Protests Mount In New Zealand Against New Surveillance Laws

Pinkfud Re:I can tell from the pixels (138 comments)

Yes, and the idea that they "don't look at it" is not really true either. Every piece of collected data is sifted by computer algorithms that look for key words, etc. If any are found, a flag is set. That qualifies as "looking at it" IMO. Now, the system probably produces so many flags that they still can't actually read all of them. If I had that problem, I would sort the flagged data into arrays so I could look for patterns. If the same person gets flagged a set number of times, or the flags show something like keyword X and keyword Y, then his stuff gets read by a real person. The problem with that is that the message content would have to be kept so it could be examined if needed. Simply stated, I do not believe only metadata is kept. It would be useless if it couldn't be put into context when something odd is detected.

1 year,13 days

Nvidia CEO: We Are Working On Next Generation Surface

Pinkfud Re:From the summary: (200 comments)

Really. Outlook will make all the difference for sure. Just like a wax job will fix a car that doesn't run.

1 year,23 days

Reject DRM and You Risk Walling Off Parts of the Web, Says W3C Chief

Pinkfud Re:Remove movies from the web? So what? (433 comments)

Movie studios should remove their garbage from everywhere, and we should stop paying them money that they use to shaft us with.

about a year ago

Records Labels Prepare Massive 'Pirate Site' Domain Blocking Blitz

Pinkfud Re:What a coincidence! (110 comments)

Absolutely. I buy nothing from these jerks.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: What Video Games Keep You From Using Linux?

Pinkfud Re:Microsoft Office (951 comments)

I recently retired from 23 years in US Government service. The federal agency policy forbids the use of open document formats, and nothing produced in OO or LO can be used. So I agree, MS Office would have to run. And not via some emulator that causes everything to slow to a crawl. As for games, I tend to install and uninstall crap constantly. Right now I'm playing Gnomoria and Plants vs Zombies, but neither will keep my attention very long. So I'd say the most important thing is to make installation easy - like point-and-click easy for those of us who don't really like troubleshooting failed dependencies. I can do that, but it isn't my idea of fun.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What Distros Have You Used, In What Order?

Pinkfud Re:75 floppy disks (867 comments)

I should clarify that I use my *NIX boxes as network file servers, not workstations. FreeBSD offers me the best performance and easiest setup in a mixed environment, plus they run reliably unattended for months on end and have good security that is not a pain to manage.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What Distros Have You Used, In What Order?

Pinkfud Re:75 floppy disks (867 comments)

My first was Slackware on a CD that came in a manual called "Using Linux". Then I tried Mandrake, Ubuntu and various "light" distros like Puppy Linux. Then I spent a while switching between FreeBSD and OpenBSD, then went to Debian, and now I'm back to FreeBSD. And I hereby declare FreeBSD the winner for my needs.

about 2 years ago

Intel To Launch TV Service With Facial Recognition By End of the Year

Pinkfud What if no one is watching? (175 comments)

I leave my TV on while I'm web surfing because (a) I don't like a silent house, and (b) there will be something I want to see in an hour. So I'm wondering what this thing will do if it detects no one is watching. Probably turn up the sound and play all commercials!

more than 2 years ago


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