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Comments

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"MythBusters" Drops Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci

PvtVoid No Kari??? (185 comments)

WTF?? Another female geek role model bites the dust. She's smart, she's gorgeous, she's clever, she's witty. We need way, way, more women like her on TV.

Bad fail, Mythbusters.

8 hours ago
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If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly

PvtVoid Re:They can produce tritium at fission plants (301 comments)

Pu-240 isn't used for nuclear weapons, though.

Oh, shit. You're quite correct. Please consider me appropriately chastised.

2 days ago
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If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly

PvtVoid Re:They can produce tritium at fission plants (301 comments)

Aren't uranium (as opposed to plutonium) bombs pretty bulky?

Not really. The critical mass for U235 is 50 kg or so, while for PU240 it's about 40 kg. Moreover, a U235 bomb is way easier to make, because it doesn't have a predetonation problem like plutonium. Just take two hunks of U235 and drive one into the other with an explosive charge. Bang. City gone. This was the way Little Boy worked. It was so simple they didn't even bother to test it before dropping it on Hiroshima. You can't do that with PU240: the neutrons get so thick as it nears criticality that it blows the charge apart in a sub-critical burst. This is why you have to use very sophisticated shaped charges to assure a perfectly spherical implosion.

PU240 is easier to produce. U235 is easier to build a bomb with. It has proved very fortunate for the world that these two things are true.

3 days ago
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Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit

PvtVoid Re:Safety vs Law (473 comments)

When a stupid law says X, you follow it at your own risk

Which is exactly why we need driverless cars: dumb fucks who believe they're such exceptionally good drivers that the rules don't apply to them.

3 days ago
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The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

PvtVoid Re:Failure of the 20th-Century Environmental Movem (246 comments)

Erm, you are mixing up stuff.

The anti nuclear horde always pointed out that the current plants are not safe. (And on top of that they don't want new ones).

And now you try to use that as a stick against them?

The plants weren't unsafe when they were built. They are unsafe now because they are far beyond their design lifetime. We have better plant designs now. Why is this so hard to understand?

3 days ago
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The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

PvtVoid Re:Failure of the 20th-Century Environmental Movem (246 comments)

The ban on DDT, which you quote as a success story, is the main reason that malaria still kills millions today. Despite your defense of nuclear power, you still managed with that comment to jump onto the environmentalist propaganda bandwagon.

I am an environmentalist. Leftie as all hell, thank you very much.

With respect to DDT, I cited that deliberately, despite the fact that malaria does indeed take a huge human toll which could (in principle) be mitigated by widespread used of DDT. The problem is the tradeoff: Wholesale collapse of ecosystems is too high a price to pay for even millions of human lives, because the long-term result will be even more lives lost, and more suffering inflicted. The bacteria are going to win, eventually. Burning down our own house to prevent that is both futile and self-destructive.

4 days ago
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The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

PvtVoid Failure of the 20th-Century Environmental Movement (246 comments)

For all of the laudable successes of the Environmental Movement in the late 20th Century (e.g. bans on DDT and chlorofluorocarbons, regulations to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions, habitat preservation), the anti-nuclear movement has to count as one of its great failures. These old plants are dangerous, and becoming increasingly so. Knee-jerk opposition to the construction of new nuclear facilities has made all of us less safe by encouraging obsolete plants (like Fukushima) to be patched together for another few decades because there is no alternative to meet power demand. Knee-jerk opposition to any waste respository has resulted in the highly dangerous on-site storage of spent fuel.

Environmental opposition to nuclear power has made nuclear power vastly more dangerous than it needs to be, which appears to be a deliberate strategy: if you are convinced beyond any reasoning that something is too dangerous to be used at all, then it becomes paradoxically sensible to work to make it as dangerous as possible so that other people will agree with your preconceived notions about the hazards. I'm not sure if this effect has a name yet. Proof by suicide?

4 days ago
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Daimler's Solution For Annoying Out-of-office Email: Delete It

PvtVoid An email is not a text. (231 comments)

This has to be the dumbest fucking idea I have ever heard of. If I tell the Post Office to hold my mail while I'm on vacation, I expect to get all of that mail delivered upon my return. Not thrown away.

An email is an electronic form of mail. It is asynchronous. You send it to somebody when you do not expect an immediate reply, but instead expect the recipient to read it as time permits, but within a reasonable time, and respond as appropriate. An OoO is an optional courtesy letting the sender know that a reply will be delayed more than a typical amount of time. (I pretty much never use them, instead just go through my outstanding email and respond when I am available.)

Something is seriously upside-down about the world when otherwise sane business people find it totally normal to never answer their phone (which is a synchronous form of communication) and communicate by trading voicemails, but at the same time expect instantaneous response to emails.

4 days ago
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FCC Mandates Text-to-911 From All US Wireless Carriers

PvtVoid Carriers aren't the weak point (80 comments)

The problem is that local emergency infrastructure is incapable of handling the technology. Every call 911 from a cell phone, for example, in New York? You get sent to a centralized, state-wide call center, and the first thing they ask is: "What town are you in?" Then they manually route you to an emergency center nearby. They have no infrastructure to use the location info from your phone, despite the fact that it has been mandated in the cell phones themselves for many years. People have died because of this, but there is no funding to upgrade the system.

You can make the phones as high-tech as you wish, if you don't back it up with government funding for the corresponding infrastructure, it's completely useless.

about two weeks ago
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Why the "NASA Tested Space Drive" Is Bad Science

PvtVoid Re:A little behind the times (315 comments)

If you see an obvious flaw in the full paper, please post it and I will publicize it.

I have a better idea: how about I ignore the whole sordid, over-hyped clusterfuck and go do something useful with my time? The Emfdrive company will go under like a submarine in short order, and we won't have to worry about them anyway.

about two weeks ago
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Why the "NASA Tested Space Drive" Is Bad Science

PvtVoid Re:A little behind the times (315 comments)

In my opinion, you can't just say "this is obviously wrong."

Yes you can: it's obviously wrong. Read the paper from the inventors on how the engine is supposed to work. It's a series of novice-level mistakes about physical principles and mechanisms. The entire idea is completely fucking batshit from the very beginning. The very fact that somebody actually got funding to build one of these absurd snake-oil devices indicates very little except that something is very, very wrong with the funding process. NASA is infamous for this kind of loony bullshit, and they really need to stop. It makes them look like morons.

about two weeks ago
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MIT Considers Whether Courses Are Outdated

PvtVoid Re:Idiots (205 comments)

Now people often find themselves having to take a 16 week course that's required for their program because a critical topic that the course talks about for one week

...because of a critical topic...

HTH.

about two weeks ago
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MIT Considers Whether Courses Are Outdated

PvtVoid Re:Idiots (205 comments)

now the student can take the modules that covers the specific learning objectives

The noun referenced by the verb covers is plural, so the verb should be cover:

now the student can take the modules that cover the specific learning objectives

HTH.

about two weeks ago
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MIT Considers Whether Courses Are Outdated

PvtVoid Re:Idiots (205 comments)

Yet the only College in the state that teaches my profession has a 15 seat limit, I would love for there to be college level learning modules to augment OJT and continuing Ed.

These are two independent clauses and should be separated by a semicolon, a colon, or a period, for example:

Yet the only College in the state that teaches my profession has a 15 seat limit; I would love for there to be college level learning modules to augment OJT and continuing Ed.

or:

Yet the only College in the state that teaches my profession has a 15 seat limit. I would love for there to be college level learning modules to augment OJT and continuing Ed.

or:

Yet the only College in the state that teaches my profession has a 15 seat limit: I would love for there to be college level learning modules to augment OJT and continuing Ed.

HTH.

about two weeks ago
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MIT Considers Whether Courses Are Outdated

PvtVoid Re:Idiots (205 comments)

The Unites States of America are a country

No, is isn't.

about two weeks ago
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MIT Considers Whether Courses Are Outdated

PvtVoid Re:Idiots (205 comments)

I don't think the point is that under-grad's will be self-educated

It's under-grads, not under-grad's. HTH.

about two weeks ago
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MIT Considers Whether Courses Are Outdated

PvtVoid Re:Idiots (205 comments)

I don't think the point is that under-grad's will be self-educated by selecting modules ala cart

It's à la carte, from the French. HTH.

about two weeks ago
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MIT Considers Whether Courses Are Outdated

PvtVoid Re:Idiots (205 comments)

Wouldn't it be great if you could change the focus of that class to the fundamental math functions you'll be using frequently in your future career and avoid the bits of the class that will have nothing to do with your profession?

You do understand the idea of a liberal arts education, right? There's a very good argument to look at coding as a trade, but that's not what universities are for. If you want to be educated like a plumber, go to a trade school.

about two weeks ago
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MIT Considers Whether Courses Are Outdated

PvtVoid OB xkcd (205 comments)

This.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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The National Review has had it with nerd chic.

PvtVoid PvtVoid writes  |  about three weeks ago

PvtVoid (1252388) writes "One part insecure hipsterism, one part unwarranted condescension, the two defining characteristics of self-professed nerds are (a) the belief that one can discover all of the secrets of human experience through differential equations and (b) the unlovely tendency to presume themselves to be smarter than everybody else in the world. Prominent examples include MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, Rachel Maddow, Steve Kornacki, and Chris Hayes; Vox’s Ezra Klein, Dylan Matthews, and Matt Yglesias; the sabermetrician Nate Silver; the economist Paul Krugman; the atheist Richard Dawkins; former vice president Al Gore; celebrity scientist Bill Nye; and, really, anybody who conforms to the Left’s social and moral precepts while wearing glasses and babbling about statistics.

The pose is, of course, little more than a ruse — our professional “nerds” being, like Mrs. Doubtfire, stereotypical facsimiles of the real thing. They have the patois but not the passion; the clothes but not the style; the posture but not the imprimatur. Theirs is the nerd-dom of Star Wars, not Star Trek; of Mario Kart and not World of Warcraft; of the latest X-Men movie rather than the comics themselves."

Link to Original Source
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Gofor: Uber for Drones

PvtVoid PvtVoid writes  |  about a month ago

PvtVoid (1252388) writes "Gofor claims to be developing an app that summons a drone on demand using your smartphone or tablet. From the web site: "Drones are summoned much like taxis in other popular service apps. Your desired task is either noted at the outset using presets, or customized using voice commands. Once the drone arrives, your phone's flashlight is used to pair your device with the drone. From there, it depends on the task, the object-based UI is very easy to understand. ""
Link to Original Source
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NSF Researcher Suspended for Mining Bitcoin

PvtVoid PvtVoid writes  |  about 2 months ago

PvtVoid (1252388) writes "In the semiannual report to Congress by the NSF Office of Inspector General, the organization said it received reports of a researcher who was using NSF-funded supercomputers at two universities to mine bitcoin. The computationally intensive mining took up about $150,000 worth of NSF-supported computer use at the two universities to generate bitcoins worth about $8,000 to $10,000, according to the report. It did not name the researcher or the universities."
Link to Original Source
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Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds

PvtVoid PvtVoid writes  |  about 3 months ago

PvtVoid (1252388) writes "Jeopardy champion Arthur Chu pens a heartfelt takedown of misogyny in nerd culture:

What the fuck is wrong with us?

How much longer are we going to be in denial that there’s a thing called “rape culture” and we ought to do something about it?

[...]

To paraphrase the great John Oliver, listen up, fellow self-pitying nerd boys—we are not the victims here. We are not the underdogs. We are not the ones who have our ownership over our bodies and our emotions stepped on constantly by other people’s entitlement. We’re not the ones where one out of six of us will have someone violently attempt to take control of our bodies in our lifetimes.

"
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Julie Ann Horvath Quits GitHub, Citing Harrassment

PvtVoid PvtVoid writes  |  about 5 months ago

PvtVoid (1252388) writes "From TechCrunch: The exit of engineer Julie Ann Horvath from programming network GitHub has sparked yet another conversation concerning women in technology and startups. Her claims that she faced a sexist internal culture at GitHub came as a surprise to some, given her former defense of the startup and her internal work at the company to promote women in technology."
Link to Original Source
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Biologist fits sharks with lasers

PvtVoid PvtVoid writes  |  more than 2 years ago

PvtVoid (1252388) writes "Marine biologist Luke Tipple mounts 50 milliwatt S3 Krypton lasers to lemon sharks to study shark movements in the water. "Tipple said that clipping the laser onto the dorsal fin and flipping on the laser was easy, although the shark didn’t like it when Tipple first attached the clamp. He said a few seconds later 'it returned to normal behavior.'""
Link to Original Source

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