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Ask Slashdot: Where Do You Stand on Daylight Saving Time?

Thomasje For it! (613 comments)

Honestly, every year, twice a year, the DST haters come out of the woodwork, because apparently adjusting your clocks twice a year is soooooo difficult. A couple of people seem to realize that having extra sunlight in the evening in summer is nice, but then *they* overshoot and suggest we should have DST year-round, apparently not realizing how much it sucks to be a working stiff and have to get up and go to work while it's still dark on winter mornings.

Take a breath, people. DST exists for a perfectly good and simple reason: to use daylight a bit more effectively than we would if we used a schedule that never changed with the seasons. Sure, if you live in or near the tropics, that's a non-issue, but for those of us in the rest of the world, DST is a good thing. And if you're one of those people who uses their smartphone as their alarm clock and pocket watch, you never have to worry about the adjustment; smartphones and computers make the adjustment automagically, *and* they even alert you that this happens. (Even back in the day, adjusting my clocks never took me more than five minutes; totally worth it for the improved quality of life that comes with more sunlight when it does the most good.)

about three weeks ago
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One In Three Jobs Will Be Taken By Software Or Robots By 2025, Says Gartner

Thomasje Re:Yes yes yes (405 comments)

What happens when we get to a point where we just don't need everyone to work in order to provide the goods and services people want? I'm thinking we may have already reached that point in some developed countries. Then what?

Then we do the same thing we did the last time this problem became acute. We reduced the working week from 48 hours to 40 early in the last century; I think reducing it further, to 32, is long overdue.

about a month and a half ago
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Russia Moves From Summer Time To Standard Time

Thomasje Brilliant... (158 comments)

The State Duma, the lower house of parliament, voted 442-1 on Tuesday to return to standard time this autumn and stay there all year.

Great move! And I guess that means it will take another three years before it sinks in that DST does still make sense in summer, when instead of being woken up by daylight two or three hours before the workday begins, you can have that extra summer daylight at the end of the day, when you can actually enjoy it in peace.

about 5 months ago
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How Open Government Data Saved New Yorkers Thousands On Parking Tickets

Thomasje Re:So that you don't have to RTFA (286 comments)

Just guessing here, but since this is the U.S. we're talking about, I'm thinking liability. Whether the hydrant is below or above ground, when it gets used that means big, heavy hoses are attached. If there's a car in front of the hydrant, there is a possibility that it might get scratched or dented by those hoses, and then presumably the fire department would be liable for that damage. Solution: ban parking near hydrants; liability problem prevented.

about 6 months ago
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Single Gene Can Boost IQ By Six Points

Thomasje Re:So what is the downside? (199 comments)

Also, those with higher intelligence tend to reproduce less.

That may be true today, but it clearly wasn't always (or mankind would be getting steadily dumber, and there is ample evidence to the contrary), and this is most likely a temporary situation. Right now, only the better-educated classes grasp just how tight the situation with the world's water, food, and energy resources has become, and they adjust their reproductive behavior accordingly, while the more ignorant parts of our species continue to pass on their increasingly unwarranted optimism to their many children. All it takes is a really major resource-scarcity-related disaster or war, and people's attitudes will change, even at the bottom... And once birthrates return to being largely independent of intelligence or education, the smarter ones will resume having their natural advantage in everyday life.

about 6 months ago
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Linus Torvalds Receives IEEE Computer Pioneer Award

Thomasje Re:Git? When Linux hit the scene, (141 comments)

I think you're greatly overstating the importance of Linux there. Not to take away from the great work Linus did and continues to do, but he himself said: "If 386BSD had been available when I started on Linux, Linux would probably never had happened."

Source: http://gondwanaland.com/meta/h...

about 7 months ago
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Microsoft Rumored To Integrate Android Apps

Thomasje Won't support native code (189 comments)

I'll bet you anything this won't support native code, just like BlackBerry's Android compatibility box. Supporting native code would require running an actual Android kernel, because native code can perform system calls and all that -- it's outside of the Java sandbox.

about 9 months ago
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South Carolina Education Committee Removes Evolution From Standards

Thomasje Re:Excellent! (665 comments)

It also means a country full of religious hotheads, who are going to view their own increasingly bleak existence as the result of a conspiracy of all those godless people in Europe and Asia. You sure you're enthusiastic about that kind of development in a country as heavily armed as the U.S.? I'd rather see them be smart, personally.

about 9 months ago
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Why We Need OpenStreetMap (Video)

Thomasje Other alternatives to Google exist as well (118 comments)

I use Sygic for navigation. They have iOS and Android apps. The apps use maps that are loaded on the device, so they take up a good chunk of space, but on the other hand this means you don't need an Internet connection to navigate (if you've ever been hit with international data roaming charges, you'll really appreciate this), and the app doesn't phone home to Google every time I use it.

They use the same map provider as TomTom. Whether that's better than OpenStreetMap or not probably depends on where you are... I've personally never had issues with map accuracy from any providers, but my travels so far have been exclusively in densely populated parts of Europe and the U.S., which are probably well mapped in any case.

N.B. I don't mean to advertise Sygic specifically; I'm sure other stand-alone navigation apps exist that are just as good. My point is that if you don't want Google to always know where you are, and are leery of the accuracy of community-provided maps, there are good alternatives.

about 10 months ago
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Schiller Says Apple Is the Last PC Maker From the Mac Era, Forgets About HP

Thomasje Only micros? (474 comments)

I know I'm showing my age, but when I was little, computers were these huge things that sat in climate-controlled rooms. Unless that kind of hardware is now removed from the definition of "computer", I can think of a few pre-Apple manufacturers that are still around, like IBM, NCR, and Unisys.

about 10 months ago
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A C++ Library That Brings Legacy Fortran Codes To Supercomputers

Thomasje Re:Code... (157 comments)

I studied math in college, and many numerical algorithms textbooks refer to software as "codes". It seems to be common practice in the computational mathematics world. I assume it goes back to the days before Fortran, before high-level languages in general, when source code literally consisted of a series of codes.

about a year ago
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California Becomes First State In Nation To Regulate Ride-Sharing

Thomasje Re:the taxi services have a right to be pissed (184 comments)

Don't hold your breath waiting for prices to plummet when taxis are deregulated. This has already been tried in the Netherlands, and the result was that prices went up, not down, and service got worse, not better, capitalist dogma notwithstanding.
The problem is that taxi drivers need to make a certain amount of money to pay their cost of living, and if the number of cabs goes up while the number of passengers doesn't, they end up spending more time waiting for fares, and less time actually driving. And they can't just hop off to a second job while they are waiting. So, they have to *increase* their rates in order to make up for their reduced number of trips, so taking a cab becomes more expensive, and they will tend to refuse short trips, trying to hold out for the more profitable longer ones, so taxi availability gets worse.

about a year ago
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Martin Luther King Jr's Children In Court Over MLK IP

Thomasje Re:End of a Dream (344 comments)

And how are programs like affirmative action following in that spirit? They tell you that, for example, if you have slanted eyes then you immediately deserve lower preference than anybody, but if you have black skin then you automatically get to be first in line.

Holy hyperbole Batman!

Affirmative action means that the kid with brown skin has a slightly higher chance of getting into college than the kid with the pink skin. You know, a little bit of unfairness going *their* way, to counterbalance the unfairness dark-skinned people experience everywhere else in life. Like having odds of landing a job, with a clean slate, that are equal to a white man's odds with the same qualifications *with a criminal record*. If we can't eliminate racism, at least we can try to make up for it somehow, and that is exactly what affirmative action is for. It does *not* mean that if you're black you're automatically in and if you're Asian you're automatically out.

Try some other news sources than Fox for a change. Heck, try some actual *news* sources.

about a year ago
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Huge Canyon Discovered Under Greenland Ice

Thomasje Re:How accurate is the sea level rise figure? (137 comments)

Greenland rebounding does absolutely nothing because the "extra" volume is not taken out of the ocean. The water doesn't suddenly jump back up on the land.

It is true that Greenland rebounding won't affect sea level, but not for the reason parent seems to imply. The real reason is that when a land mass is pressed downwards by an ice sheet, it sinks because it displaces material in the mantle. That mantle material is squeezed out sideways, and ends up raising adjacent land masses or ocean floor.

When the ice sheet melts, the displaced mantle flows back, the depressed land rebounds, and the raised adjacent land or ocean floor sinks back.

This effect is currently causing the Netherlands to sink at a rate of about five millimeters per year, while Scandinavia is rising at a similar rate. The rebound from the last glacial, in other words, is still ongoing, and quite significant. (Having to raise sea dikes by half a meter over a century, even without global warming induced sea level rise, is a pain in the ass and not something you can just ignore...)

If Greenland losing its ice and rising causes no dry land to sink but only ocean floor, that floor sinkage will compensate for some of the sea level rise, but not quickly enough to help us save our coastal lands and cities.

about a year ago
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Colorado Company Says It Plans To Test Hyperloop Transport System

Thomasje Re:Doesn't anybody read anymore? (258 comments)

Couple of quibbles here. First, you won't traverse that tunnel in free fall: that would require the vehicle to move at orbital speed. If you're thinking of digging a parabolic (or, well, elliptical) tunnel where you could be in free fall at suborbital speeds, you would have to dig much of that tunnel at depths that are impossible with current technology.
Second, but on a more positive note, digging a tunnel that's X times longer than the Channel Tunnel doesn't have to take X times as long as digging the Channel Tunnel. New York to Los Angeles is under land except for a few river crossings, so there is no reason why you couldn't be digging at multiple places at once and create multiple sections of the tunnel concurrently. That would be more expensive, and getting the segments to line up exactly won't be easy, but should be doable.

about a year ago
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Researchers Infect iOS Devices With Malware Via Malicious Charger

Thomasje Re:Physical Access (201 comments)

And remember, all this is to support Apple's DRM that blocks 3rd party chargers (or at least prevents them using the fast charge rate).

Huh? I use a third-party car charger, and it fast-charges my iPhone just fine.

about a year and a half ago
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MIT's Charm School For Geeks Turns 20

Thomasje Charm school? Really? (217 comments)

We've managed to get to the point where it's no longer mandatory for women to wear dresses and high heels everywhere. Can we please move on and also stop requiring men to wear suits and ties? If you're looking for an engineer, look for an engineering degree. If you want to hire a model, look for someone who looks good in a suit. Confusing the two is just unprofessional.

about a year and a half ago
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Hockey Sticks Among Carry-On Items TSA Has Cleared For Planes

Thomasje Re:Better Luggage Handling (276 comments)

Maybe I'm just lucky, but I never had anything stolen or destroyed from my checked luggage. Even so, I try to travel light and cram everything into my carry-on... So I won't have to wait for half an hour or an hour at the carrousel, and so I won't have to pay the $25 or more per checked bag.

about a year and a half ago

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