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Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

Primate Pete Re:It was an almost impossible case to prosecute (1081 comments)

... Nonetheless, it was an immensely difficult case to build for the prosecutor as the only person alive who knew what happened was the one who pulled the trigger....

By which logic, nobody should ever go to jail for murder. After all, the victim can't testify...

2 days ago
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Number of Coders In Congress To Triple (From One To Three)

Primate Pete Re:Coding, maybe. Science for sure. (162 comments)

Yeah, coding would be good knowledge for people on the hill, especially in the light of legislation about H-1 visas and the like. No disagreement.

That said, I think general science literacy would have greater overall impact and make a greater positive impact on my life and my confidence in the direction that things are going.

about a week ago
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Number of Coders In Congress To Triple (From One To Three)

Primate Pete Coding, maybe. Science for sure. (162 comments)

Really, I don't need my legislators to know how to program, because I don't know that programming skills are what's needed to produce good legislation and policy.

Basic literacy in science, and the honesty to make evidence-based decisions would be much higher on my list of essential skills for congressvermin.

about a week ago
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Big Talk About Small Samples

Primate Pete Painfully illogical (245 comments)

The sample was a set of legal briefs, but the conclusions were about judges. Small samples may work, but you can't sample population A to make an inference about unrelated population B.

By analogy, the fact that my ice cream truck only sells half as much ice cream as I expect doesn't tell me that there aren't many kids in the neighborhood. Maybe my prices are crazy. Maybe my only flavor is chocolate-chutney ripple. Maybe the scary clown on the top of my truck frightens children away. From looking at my inventory, there's probably not enough information to tell.

The fact that judges didn't read pages and 3 and 4 of the briefs could be because the documents were late, incorrectly presented, or manifestly incorrect on the first page.

No need to read the rest.

about two weeks ago
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Ford Develops a Way To Monitor Police Driving

Primate Pete Who would sign up for this? (151 comments)

I am not at all sure that the benefit of "creating a degree of transparency to improve public trust" will outweigh the benefit of maintaining a degree of secrecy to permit the improper activities. The loss of freedom for some police will be tangible; the gain in reputation will not be. The only hope would be to have this imposed on police departments from outside.

about three weeks ago
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Breaching Air-Gap Security With Radio

Primate Pete Not that hard to defeat (80 comments)

Keeping the classified material more than 7 meters away from the cell phones doesn't seem like that hard a measure to put in place. Maybe you could put a source of interference near the phone lockers if you wanted extra security.

about a month ago
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NPR: '80s Ads Are Responsible For the Lack of Women Coders

Primate Pete No, you're wrong. (786 comments)

In the dawn of computing, women were largely typists, inputting data.

I was doing computer work in the 1980s. I worked with women who were programming, doing VAX & mainframe admin, and performing actual rigorous systems analysis.

The claim that women are not interested in technology or computing is just false.

about a month ago
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Gmail Security Is a Problem For Tor Users In Repressive Countries

Primate Pete Re:Stupid (74 comments)

You don't need a cell signal for the authenticator to work. You do, however, need an internet connection for email. So "off grid" use is very limited.

about a month and a half ago
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Fusion Reactor Concept Could Be Cheaper Than Coal

Primate Pete Re:"will present results Oct. 17 (315 comments)

The heat is used to create steam in most power generation schemes. The amount of heat needed to create a stated amount of steam is the same regardless of source. The fusion reactors would only need to be scaled up to the point that they create heat comparable to current coal reactors. "Mini-suns" are not part of the plan.

about a month and a half ago
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Microsoft Announces Windows 10

Primate Pete MS did this before with MS Word (644 comments)

MS Word jumped directly from version 2.0c to version 6, so that MS could catch up with WordPerfect.

Oddly, changing the version numbering doesn't actually make the product better. Who'd have guessed that?

about 2 months ago
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Text While Driving In Long Island and Have Your Phone Disabled

Primate Pete Maybe some state other than Virginia? (364 comments)

Radar is widely used in Virginia (which I know from unfortunate experience). Also, radar detectors are illegal and are themselves enough to prompt the police to pull you over. The people who I knew that had radar detectors ultimately lost them to police seizure. None of this should have been a surprise to anyone, given the many "RADAR DETECTORS ILLEGAL" signs at the state borders.

about 3 months ago
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Could Tech Have Stopped ISIS From Using Our Own Heavy Weapons Against Us?

Primate Pete Re:Here's what I don't get... (448 comments)

Just because I can see the moon in a telescope doesn't mean I can reach out and touch it. It's a matter of physical and logistical problems, not just telemetry.

about 3 months ago
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Seagate Ships First 8 Terabyte Hard Drive

Primate Pete Re:anyone remember when (316 comments)

I remember IBM selling a 5MB hard drive for the PC for $5K. It was a great deal at the time.

about 2 months ago
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Aussie Airlines To Allow Uninterrupted Mobile Use During Flights

Primate Pete Good, but not the first ones (51 comments)

Over the last two weeks, prior to August 23, I've been allowed to keep devices on during flights from the US to Asia via Europe, and back on European airlines. The airlines in the articles are not the first to do this.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Preparing an Android Tablet For Resale?

Primate Pete Just so you're clear on this.... (113 comments)

"Will no longer boot" does not go along with "no obvious sign of damage."

about 4 months ago
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Wikipedia Blocks 'Disruptive' Edits From US Congress

Primate Pete Re:Citation needed? (165 comments)

Sorry, that would be disqualified as "original research."

about 4 months ago
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Will Your Next Car Be Covered In Morphing Dimples?

Primate Pete This seems unnecessarily complicated. (138 comments)

Why not just press dimples into the plastic/fibreglas/metal panels of the car? No expensive technology needed, and "good enough" dimples can just be made part of the parts molds/presses.

On a second topic, I would be investigating this if I owned a racing team because anything that decreases the fuel consumption of my car improves overall race performance. Skipping a single refueling stop is a big deal. Since the teams are already making custom cars, the cost of adding dimples should be negligible compared to the overall cost of the vehicle. Not quite something for nothing, but close.

about 4 months ago
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The Improbable Story of the 184 MPH Jet Train

Primate Pete Amtrak subsidies (195 comments)

Yeah, it competes with road funding, but Amtrak also takes huge funding from the government, too... near 30% of operating expenses or about half of revenue:

Bloomberg: "After automatic budget cuts, Amtrak is getting $1.3 billion in taxpayer money for fiscal 2013, with $905 million of that going to capital costs and debt service, Kulm said. That’s less than the $1.4 billion the railroad received the previous year."

Amtrak: "In FY 2012, Amtrak earned approximately $2.877 billion in revenue and incurred approximately $4.036 billion in expense. No country in the world operates a passenger rail system without some form of public support for capital costs and/or operating expenses."

It may be a good social service, but it's a lousy business, and it is nowhere near self-sufficient.

about 4 months ago

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