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Professors: US "In Denial" Over Poor Maths Standards

SunTzuWarmaster Re:Clearly, we need to SPEND MORE MONEY! (688 comments)

Perhaps that, accounting for inflation, $1 in 1962 is worth $7.77 today? This indicates that the "quadrupling of funding!" is really "slashing the inflation-adjusted budget by half". Would that be on topic, and a worthwhile point to make?

about 2 months ago

Data Mining Shows How Down-Voting Leads To Vicious Circle of Negative Feedback

SunTzuWarmaster Re:I disagree (293 comments)

I agree with the parent poster. I feel that my voice is rarely silenced due to simple unpopularity. Browsing at -1 indicates mostly that -1 posters suck. More common than this is that my posts are average (in the noise), which is probably an accurate reflection of my posting nature (small additions filling the the corners or highlighting a previous argument).

On the moderation side, I rarely downmoderate. I downmod in one of a very few cases: poster is a jerk/troll, poster has contributed nothing, poster is provably wrong in a manner which indicates erroneous conclusions.

about 3 months ago

Japanese and Swiss Watchmakers Scoff At Smartwatches

SunTzuWarmaster Re:Jewelry (399 comments)

Planet Money summed this up pretty well for me:
Announcer: "Zoe, let's say I give you two investment vehicles. One is a piece of art, with a drawing on it. The other is a Government bond. Let's say they both will appreciate at the same rate, say, 3% above inflation. Which would you prefer to have?"
Zoe: "Is the Government bond pretty? Does looking at it, feeling it, or smelling it give me any form of pleasure?"
Announcer: "No, it looks, feels, and smells like a Government bond. It has a picture of an eagle on it."
Zoe: "I'm, um, going with the art."

This is a pretty simple example of why art underperforms typical investment vehicles. All things being equal, people prefer the art to the bond. That said, it drives demand for art up, and return for art down. While art may _hold_ its value (keep pace with inflation), it will not compare in its performance with similar investment vehicles (even if kept in pristine condition).

More info here:
and here:

about 4 months ago

iPad Fever Is Officially Cooling

SunTzuWarmaster Re:Shuffles (386 comments)

I agree that the iPod classic is a product separate from those of other categories. Additionally, I agree with your views regarding being amazed about not having large-storage HDD-based music players. However, the following situation occurred recently to me:
  - I got a new phone (replacing the 4 year old one).
  - I uploaded all of my music on my iPod (40ish Gb) to Google Music (20,000 songs for free)
  - I cached my frequently-played favorites ("Running mix", "Workout mix", "Yard Word mix") on the HD of the phone, using about 1 Gb of space
  - I stream my music collection from Google Music
  - I also have many other capabilities, such as streaming from Pandora, downloading podcasts, using car stereo BlueTooth, etc.
  - I haven't turned on my iPod since

I have 'unlimited' (5 Gb) bandwidth from my cell carrier when roaming, and truely 'unlimited' bandwidth from the places where I listen to the most music (gym Wifi, home Wifi, work wifi, girlfriend Wifi, etc.). In short, my phone has access to my entire music collection as part of its normal operation ($25/month, unlimited calls/data).

I use a Moto X phone (now), from Republic Wireless, which cost $299 (, and $25/month. It effectively replaces the functionality of my previous phone ($50/month, free phone).
An iPod Classic (40K songs) starts at $249 ( An iPod Touch (1750-7K songs) starts at $229.

iPods are products which will die.

PS - Shameless plug for a company with which I am happy. You can switch to Republic Wireless using this link for the first month free:

about 4 months ago

Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

SunTzuWarmaster Re:It's crap (1633 comments)

Small correction: men between the ages of 17 and 45 (

about 4 months ago

Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

SunTzuWarmaster Re:No advocating banning guns (1633 comments)

Not greatly, considering how many people are considered to be in the "unorganized militia" ( Short version: all men between 18 and 45 are considered part of the unorganized militia. Also, some other people (women in the national guard, etc.).

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Fastest, Cheapest Path To a Bachelor's Degree?

SunTzuWarmaster Re: DeVry (370 comments)

My alma mater averages $210/credit hour ( The engineering degree, when I graduated, was 128 credit hours. This brings the cost of the degree close to $27000 ($6000/year). It appears that GP paid 50% more than traditional education (in-state tuition) for his non-traditional degree program.

about 5 months ago

70% of U.S. Government Spending Is Writing Checks To Individuals

SunTzuWarmaster Re:Makers and takers (676 comments)

I hate to rain on your parade with facts, but here are some relevant facts:
The Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) for someone currently in the workforce is around 57 (or any age with 25 years of service).
Payments don't start until you actually hit MRA.
The average federal worker makes 78K/year (let's not debate this too much, as president Obama is in these numbers).
While you can start payments at MRA with only 5 years in service (woo!) the amount of that pay is 1% of your average salary for your three highest salaried years per year. In other words, you'd get less than 5% of your ending salary (about $325/month).

The person in your example works for 20 years (let's say 18-38), "retires", begins receiving payments at 57 (no inflation adjustments during this time period). Let's pretend that this is the first year they receive payments (they retired in 1995) and that they made average salary ($61,000) at that time. They are now entitled to begin those lucrative payments you speak so highly about... $12200/year.

Your point that they will receive this payment until the end of their life is accurate, and they may receive this $12K/year (which is now adjusted upwards yearly for inflation) until they are 90 years old.


about 5 months ago

Physics Forum At Fermilab Bans Powerpoint

SunTzuWarmaster Re:PowerPoint? (181 comments)

Perhaps by using this:
Also, by drawing it in a drawing program and saving it as an image (

Note: I am a scientist and use PowerPoint daily. There is a place for each goal:
Giving a scientific talk at a conference (20 minute presentation, 10 minute Q/A) - PowerPoint
Giving a project/program briefing of monthly activity - PowerPoint
Giving a classroom presentation - PowerPoint

It is a good format for one-way presenting. It is not a substitute for dialogue, decision making, collaborative pro/con analysis, or documentation. There are other solutions for that (whiteboard, whiteboard-handout combo, briefing-whiteboard combo, whitepaper, respectively).

about 5 months ago

The Neuroscience of Computer Programming

SunTzuWarmaster Re:Reading vs writing (161 comments)

In this case, reading, writing, listening, and speaking a foreign language should all be different tasks. The neuroscience doesn't lie: the region of the language processing center lights up; portions of programming are similar to foreign languages.

about 6 months ago

Build an Open-Source Electric Car In About One Hour

SunTzuWarmaster [fuckbeta] (188 comments)

Missing option: I'm jumping ship to the first replacement that comes up. Slashcode will likely do a good job.

about 6 months ago

Slashdot BETA Discussion

SunTzuWarmaster The BEST parts (60 comments)

narrower read pane, limited moderation filtering, and several color/size/font adjustments

So, I enjoy the large reading pane, as this is where the heart of slashdot lives.
Moderation filtering is what allows intellectual discussion to occur.
The font/color/size adjustments in general make slashdot seem "whiter", "trendier" and "ad ridden", which are among the things that I avoid on the Internet.

Quite frankly, these changes are removing what makes slashdot, slashdot. Slashdot is the slow-crawl IRC among many respectable scientists and engineers. I have been browsing and posting /. since 2006, and have enjoyed the layout of the site (the one change in that time was positive, I don't just hate new things). The 'beta' layout is a direct detractor to site quality, and I fear that the other engineers/scientists will leave.

I have applied the "fuckbeta" tag to all stories this morning, have used my moderation points in other threads to promote resisting the change, have written an E-mail on the subject, and have posted in this thread. I would send money if I believed that it had the influence to keep the old slashdot layout, as I believe the change to the new layout may prevent what this country needs: intellectual discussion. Tell me where to send the ransom money. I'm not kidding.

about 6 months ago

The JavaScript Juggernaut Rolls On

SunTzuWarmaster Re:Peak "platform" (505 comments)

Words have meaning and purpose. What words would you use to express the following concepts?

  - a collection of tools which allow you to build a new component through their leverage, while not contributing significantly to the overall effectiveness of the tools (or won't particularly be used in operation)

  - a collection of functional components which you will use as part of the operation of a new component

Currently, the words are "platform" and "system". I'm happy to switch to other words if they express the concept better.

about 7 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Does Edward Snowden Deserve?

SunTzuWarmaster Re: It might be an unpopular opinion... (822 comments)

The premise of this post is factually inaccurate. You can be pardoned prior to being brought to trial. As a famous example, famously, President Ford pardoned Nixon.

Additionally, you don't have to be pardoned for crimes. As an example, please read the text of the pardon (proclamation 4311).

Now, Therefore, I, Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.

The above is quite clearly a pardon for crimes which he "may have committed" during that time. He could have killed a million people with his bare hands, the pardon would still stand.

about 7 months ago

Fixing Broken Links With the Internet Archive

SunTzuWarmaster Re:No. 404 is important! (79 comments)

So let's say that my company has three lines of products on three different webpages. We decide to discontinue two of the lines of products for being unprofitable, and remove the pages. Google search results still show the pages, and still shows them to users. These products are still shown to my potential customers, who experience frustration when they attempt to get them.

Alternately, I create a temporary webpage for displaying some demo content to a potential client. It is a demo page, and ridden with bugs, holes, and other areas that need improvement. still shows this page as part of search results? What will potential clients think of my company, given that it put up a buggy/terrible page?

Alternately, let's just say that I rename a longstanding webpage ( to and delete the old URL. Should redirect to false content?

Or, let's say that my restaurant decides to take down its 2013menu.html page, and doesn't wish customers to be able to compare its new and old menu side by side to see where prices inflated.

Error messages have purpose. While the most common case is that the page/server went offline, there are many times where a page URL changes as a result of regular website updates, where you don't want users to obtain old content.

Sometimes things are deleted for a reason.

about 7 months ago

The True Color of Ancient Sea Creatures

SunTzuWarmaster Re:Just wow. (44 comments)

Consider this situation:
Kid: What color was the ichthyosaur?
Parent: "We don't know, but it was probably dark-colored because it lived deep in the ocean. However, it may have been brightly colored to attract a mate, may have glowed in the dark to attract prey, or may have had tiger-like patterning to hide in native vegetation. We may never know."
Scientist: "We have found out! It was dark grey. You should cheer because we have answered a fundamental question about the ichthyosaur. We can use this method to discover what color the other dinosaurs were, if you would want to know."

about 7 months ago


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