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Bioethicist At National Institutes of Health: "Why I Hope To Die At 75"

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Only 5 years of retirement (435 comments)

Enjoy your life, don't wait for your retirement. I don't see an especially good chance of ever being able to retire.

Fortunately, I've been enjoying life all along.

As for being able to retire, I'm not sure that we will have a choice to not "retire". We've been seeing more and more "old" people being forced to "retire" over the last few decades. As time goes on, a smaller and smaller percentage of these will be able to find alternative work, not even minimum wage work, no matter how few hours per week.

yesterday
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Bioethicist At National Institutes of Health: "Why I Hope To Die At 75"

UnderCoverPenguin Re:The WHO (435 comments)

Based on current trends and short of a major breakthru there is no way someone born today will live to be 120-130 [...] but we've made little or no progress on actually extending life to any significant extent

It does seem most humans live 70 to 90 years. While the known record is 122, we don't really know what the maximum is. I recall reading numbers as low as 125 to over 300, so, by the end of this century, 110+ might be common and 120+ not so rare as now.

FWIW, I have a coworker whose girlfriend's great grand parents all lived past 105 and 3 of them past 110, all in good health and still productively contributing to the family business until their final few months.

yesterday
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Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

UnderCoverPenguin Re:More importantly (391 comments)

I recently had to have the engine in my car replaced. Total was $3000. The best price I could find a similar used car was $8000. Given that the rest of the car was (and still is) in very good and fully operational condition, the $5000 savings made sense.

5 days ago
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An Open Source Pitfall? Mozilla Labs Closed, Quietly

UnderCoverPenguin Proprietary project die, too (111 comments)

In my professional career, several projects I have worked on have been canceled despite a good state - not behind schedule nor over budget, or even ahead of schedule and/or under budget. The reasons were usually variations from "marketing has decided to change direction" to "after management re-org, the new managers decided the risks were too high". The latter happened to one project despite us having 5 fully and correctly operating prototypes, and having invested 3 person-years of effort and over half a million US dollars in development tools and licensing of third party libraries. Another project was canceled because the primary stakeholder lost interest despite the first two phases being highly successful.

5 days ago
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Laid Off From Job, Man Builds Tweeting Toilet

UnderCoverPenguin Internet enabled hot tub (114 comments)

Back in the 90s, I went to convention in Detroit. I met a fellow who had sensors in his hot tub connected to a webserver so he (and anyone else) could monitor the status of the tub. He also had sensors in a minifridge connected to his server. His website went offline several years ago.

about two weeks ago
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Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Probably not. (546 comments)

Question should be rephrased: Does learning to code outweigh learning to code _better_?
It also ignores the other things you learn while getting your degree, and learning to cope with pressure which isn't present when you're learning to code whenever you feel like it.

I agree. Except for the first 2 classes (which I bypassed), the CS classes offered at the university I attended (and graduated from) simply expected that we could code. The graders barely looked at our code. If they could compile and run it, then if the results were correct, our programs were correct. There was no feedback, let alone instruction, on readability or maintainability. And the closest we got to software planning was that our term project design documents were 30% of our midterm grades (along with 30% from homework and 40% from test scores).

So yes, universities should add classes on software planning and improve classes on coding practices (while I did bypass the 2 "coding" classes, I did see other students' assignments and code, so I could see that the classes were more about applying coding to problems than coding practices).

about three weeks ago
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Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

UnderCoverPenguin Re:It's all bunk. (546 comments)

Employers and HR departments are rarely focused on actual performance, except in the very smallest of companies. Most use a combination of bean-counting, related age-discrimination, and the supposedly valuable rubber stamp of a degree to winnow out programming job applicants.

Yeah. This, along with "buzz word compliance". This strongly rewards those who are good sales people over actually technical ability. software people seem to especially vulnerable to this. Some times this can be worked around by knowing who's getting ready to post positions so those managers can tailor the requirements to fit. However, more and more HR departments are moving to standardized requirements. Although technical managers actually realize this is happening, the message that gets to the executive suite is "we can't find qualified candidates".

they don't like your failure to integrate into "youth culture" as in no particular fascination with social media... or even your preference for a shirt and tie

Interesting. My company's execs complain that too many employees are fascinated with social media. And no, the execs are not senior citizens. Also, the older members of the engineering staff are the ones most likely to not wear a tie.

about three weeks ago
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CPU's Heat Output to Amplify DNA Could Make Drastically Cheaper Tests

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Actual Link And Better Details (27 comments)

The takeaway is that PCR equipment sounds far more expensive than it needs to be.

A lot of equipment is more expensive than it could be. Doing more than a cosmetic redesign opens up a vendor to liability issues. Until either the lawyers are comfortable that the cost savings of a new design sufficiently outweigh the potential cost of law suits or they see competitor stealing too much of their business, they won't be willing to take the risk. Right now, these third world countries don't look like good enough markets to bother with.

about three weeks ago
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CPU's Heat Output to Amplify DNA Could Make Drastically Cheaper Tests

UnderCoverPenguin Reminds me of (27 comments)

This reminds me of a CPU fan that is powered by the heat using a tiny Sterling Engine. Maybe not the kind of "practical use" of the waste heat the editor had in mind, but still an interesting idea.

about three weeks ago
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Can ISO 29119 Software Testing "Standard" Really Be a Standard?

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Automated test in is a minimum (152 comments)

I'll just hire a QA guy to unit test all my code...

Actually, that's how the testing should be done. Give the requirements to both teams - testers and developers. Developers design/write the product code. Testers design/write the tests. Then let the testing begin. Problems entered into issue tracking. Both teams fix their respective problems. Retest. Repeat as needed.

Unfortunately, many companies fail to adequately fund testing so devs end up writing tests, which, in turn, catch fewer problems

about three weeks ago
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Can ISO 29119 Software Testing "Standard" Really Be a Standard?

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Standards (152 comments)

At least where I work, most likely is that it will be more paper work to get done - never mind that we already have too much paper work to do. Like us in development, the testing people will make whatever they can conform to this new standard, then file waivers for the rest.

about three weeks ago
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Can ISO 29119 Software Testing "Standard" Really Be a Standard?

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Can see it now: (152 comments)

MBA CEO: Never mind, just ship it.

More likely response: "Figure out how to get it done within the existing budget and schedule."

about three weeks ago
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Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

UnderCoverPenguin Re:And this is how we get to the more concrete har (528 comments)

But to knock "how science actually works" off the curriculum in order to make creationism slightly more viable as a meme, knocks a very important and practical tool out of childrens' toolbox for learning about the world.

I think that is the ultimate goal: To "teach" children what "they" think children should know instead of enabling children to actually learn.

about a month ago
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Why Do Humans Grow Up So Slowly? Blame the Brain

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Society also does this.. (128 comments)

WE have some wierd fetish with letting kids be kids for as long as possible. Sorry but at 13 you are biologically an adult so you need to have adult responsibilities and adult expectations. these teenagers need to get off their asses and work, build, etc.. Instead we extend this out to age 20 before we expect them to get a job and start being responsible.

More like not allow them to get jobs or otherwise have the legal authority to function as adults. There are very few, if any, jobs anyone under 16 is legally allowed (not counting allowance for doing family chores). And not many that 16 and 17 year olds are legally allowed. At age 10, my daughter wanted a real, paying job. And she was actually capable of doing meaningful office work. She also wanted to stay in school. She thought she could handle 2 hours per day of office work along with her studies. She might have been right. We did look into things we did at that age, like a paper route, but such jobs are either no longer available (at least for those under 18) or no longer legal for those under 18. She did try being a model - by her choice. She hated that. Partly because of the people she worked for and partly because working on Sat mornings greatly negatively impacted her other weekend activities.

about a month ago
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Why Do Humans Grow Up So Slowly? Blame the Brain

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Humankind and eusociality (128 comments)

and the public has become more accepting of a gay lifestyle

Being gay doesn't automatically exclude someone being a "breeder". It does introduce challenges, both biological and social. I have plenty of gay friends who are parents or are trying to become parents.

That said, at least in the US, the job market encourages workers to not be parents. Partly from this, and partly from other reasons, there are plenty of non-gay relationships that choose to not have children and have even obtained medical treatment to prevent accidental pregnancy. (Side note: The logic of the one state in the appeals court gay marriage ban case suggests that these marriages are invalid because accidental pregnancy is not possible.)

However, getting closer to the eusocial ideal will not be good.

about a month ago
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Why Do Humans Grow Up So Slowly? Blame the Brain

UnderCoverPenguin Re:not so fast (128 comments)

It takes a long time to teach our kids because the system we have for teaching them is horribly inefficient and has been for thousands of years at this point.

Until around 1900, within the working class (which generally included lower middle class back then), education was reading, basic writing and arithmetic. A 12 year old - whether boy or girl - was expected to be a productive member of working class society and was often married (12 for girls and 14 or so for boys). Education beyond that was for the upper class (and upper middle class), especially university level education. Extending education through grade 12 (typically age 17 or 18) for (nominally) all young people happen since then.

When I was 18, I did not hear society complaining that 18 year olds were not ready to be adults. (Yeah, some parents had trouble accepting their kids were 18, but even they did not, in general, feel that 18 year olds were not ready to be adults)

Now, I hear a lot of complaints about 18 year olds not being ready to be adults (despite an increase in demand to try and sentence kids

So, what's different? Part of it is inefficiency in the education system. Part of it is that we need to learn more. And part of it is increasing societal demand for over protectiveness - whether by scaring parents or by telling parents "you can't" - or "must not" - let your kids do _____.

The biological reality is more complex. Teenagers (or more broadly, those from onset of puberty through full maturity) are neither adults nor children. And now, our society has shifted from forcing them to be adults to forcing them to be children. Yet, so many adults wonder why so many of today's 18 year olds are not ready to be adults.

about a month ago
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Why Do Humans Grow Up So Slowly? Blame the Brain

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Sperm to frogs (128 comments)

Zero gravity toilets use air flow. So diapers are optional and generally only used for EVA.

about a month ago
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When Customer Dissatisfaction Is a Tech Business Model

UnderCoverPenguin Re:You lost me (257 comments)

The GP was not talking about ISPs. He was talking about services like Facebook and Twitter. Users of those services are not customers. The users are the product. Of course, piss off too many users too much, then the advertising clicks go down, and , therefore, revenue.

about 1 month ago
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When Customer Dissatisfaction Is a Tech Business Model

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Where would we flee to? (257 comments)

I think what you're looking at is companies like Comcast who have government guaranteed monopoly in the areas they serve.

Neither the cableco nor the telco have "government guaranteed" monopolies in my area. It's just that the potential competitors don't see enough potential ROI to extend their service into my city - at least not beyond where they can easily install a drop line. I'm 1 street in from the city border. Houses across the street from my house and the houses they are back-to-back with can get service from the competition despite being in my city. For a few years, the neighbor directly across from my house was quite willing to let me put a cable modem and WiFi with directional antenna in his attic. And the competition was more than happy to have me as a customer. Now that neighbor (and several others) has moved, so I am stuck with the one company, now.

about 1 month ago
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When Customer Dissatisfaction Is a Tech Business Model

UnderCoverPenguin Re:Free market (257 comments)

A smaller call center staffed with decently trained and compensated CSRs is far more cost effective than watching the headcount continuously grow and churn to deal with the increased call volume due to poorly trained staff...

Except that some companies have found that they can get away with not increasing head count in customer service.

My ISP is doing that. In most of the markets they "serve" their internet service is just enough better than the telco's internet service that it has an effective monopoly. Therefore, they don't care about customer service beyond delivering bits. The telco doesn't care about its internet service because its telephone service is better than the cableco's VOIP service (which is better than the telco's VOIP). Though this could change when POTS is phased out.

about 1 month ago

Submissions

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Citizen Science: Who makes the rules?

UnderCoverPenguin UnderCoverPenguin writes  |  about 9 months ago

UnderCoverPenguin (1001627) writes "At MakeZine, David Lang talks about the some of the legal issues around a planned, amature science "expedition", as well as some other amature science projects.

In the not too distant past, most science was amature. Over the past 20 or so years, society has been making it harder for amatures to do real science despite the technical costs falling. With the recent upswing of the "maker movement", amature science has seen an increase as well, but is running into an assortment of legal issues.(An exception is astronomy, where amatures continue to play important roles. Of course, astronomy doesn't involve chemicals or other (currently) "scary stuff".)

Can amature science make a come-back? Or are the legal obsicles too entrenched?"
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Review: Sintel

UnderCoverPenguin UnderCoverPenguin writes  |  more than 3 years ago

UnderCoverPenguin (1001627) writes "Last night, I watched Sintel (sintel.org). Technically, it was a beautiful showcase for Blender. The models and animations were very well done. The fight and chase scenes were excellent. I think the movie can stand on its own among professionally made short movies of similar style and genre. Story-wise, the plot was weak and predictable. Also, the end of the final fight was too bleak and disturbing for the likely audience. Spoiler: I think the ending would have been better if the woman had been killed by the dragon. Unfortunately, I don't have the skill needed to re-do the ending myself."
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Stage 1 works perfectly, Stage 2 fails to seperate

UnderCoverPenguin UnderCoverPenguin writes  |  more than 6 years ago

UnderCoverPenguin (1001627) writes "In the 3rd launch of Falcon 1 (http://spacex.com), the first stage, with the latest version of the Merlin engine, works perfectly. Unfortunately, the second stage failed to separate. (http://www.spacex.com/updates.php) Hopefully it was only a minor setback, despite the huge cost."

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