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Complain About Comcast, Get Fired From Your Job

barlevg Re:Comcast needs to go the route of AT&T (740 comments)

Unless they're allowed to compete in the same markets, I'm really not sure how that would help.

about two weeks ago
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Living On a Carbon Budget: The End of Recreation As We Know It?

barlevg Dimensional analysis (652 comments)

is about 1700kW/h electric.

Not impressed? Was not meant to impress you. That is per year not per month.

Quick pedantic note: the unit is kWh, not kW/h. Watt is energy over time. So Watt / hour would be energy over time squared. Your energy consumption per year is 1700 kWh or 6120 Megajoules.

about two weeks ago
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On Independence for Scotland:

barlevg Re:Shetland and Orkney (192 comments)

Yes, this is correct, and my bad for perpetuating the myth. I read once that Shetland was closer to Oslo than Edinburgh, but that's also blatantly false. The more relevant Norway/Scotland fact is simply that Shetland used to belong to Norway, so their historical ties to Scotland are weaker.

about a month ago
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On Independence for Scotland:

barlevg Shetland and Orkney (192 comments)

The interesting question to me regarding Scottish independence is what will happen to Orkney and Shetland (the latter of which is closer to Norway than Scotland). Shetlanders often don't consider themselves Scots, and so the thinking is that they might seek their own independence if Scotland breaks away from the UK. And that would likely have huge ramifications for Scotland's oil trade, since a lot of the resources, as I understand it, are in the North Sea.

about a month ago
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Power Grids: The Huge Battery Market You Never Knew Existed

barlevg Never knew existed? (245 comments)

I've been hearing about batteries being needed for sun and wind is as long as I've been hearing about sun and wind...

about a month and a half ago
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Old Doesn't Have To Mean Ugly: Squeezing Better Graphics From Classic Consoles

barlevg Was expecting an article on upscaling filters (167 comments)

I was really excited to see that new builds of ffmpeg (which is FOSS) implement the hqx family of filters, but I've also read that these filters are pretty outdated at this point. So I was hoping that this article would be a comparison of upscaling algorithms, both free and proprietary. But alas...

about 2 months ago
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The Flight of Gifted Engineers From NASA

barlevg Re:Another sign NASA is circling the drain ... (160 comments)

Wow is this uneducated. I can't speak to the federal workforce as a whole, but for a variety of technical fields, like the one described in this article, as well as my own (data science), the federal government pays "competitively" but salaries in the private sector tend to be quite a bit higher. As for the hours and the benefits, that's largely a function of where you work, but I will point out that federal pensions for new hires got slashed as part of a recent round of budget negotiations.

about 2 months ago
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Ancient Worms May Have Saved Life On Earth

barlevg Re:Tiny? (54 comments)

Sandtrout were pretty tiny and just as integral to the Dune ecosystem (IIRC, melange was their excretion).

about 2 months ago
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How long ago did you last assemble a computer?

barlevg Re:"assemble" or "reassmeble" (391 comments)

What if your mobo shorts out and that's all you need replaced? That, to me, is a lot less of a change in computer than a CPU upgrade or a new hard drive: replace one of those, and your computer will run noticeably differently, but if someone were to come into your house and swap out the motherboard of your computer in the middle of the night, you might not even notice a difference assuming the BIOS was the same.

about 3 months ago
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How long ago did you last assemble a computer?

barlevg Re:so, I'm in the more than 8 yrs ago camp (391 comments)

The manufacturer clearly fucked something up with that Windows machine, since, as I said, its twin (purchased at the same time with identical hardware) worked out of the box. As for my xorg issues with my Linux tower, I'm not actually sure that it *wouldn't* work out-of-the-box, if I had installed from the LiveCD with the monitors plugged into the graphics card instead of the IGFX. But trying to switch to using the card now, post-install, would be an unnecessary pain. And trying to run one display off the IGFX and the other off the video card would be a nightmare. Shameful in a modern OS? Sure. But we've known that X11 needed to be replaced for a while.

about 3 months ago
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How long ago did you last assemble a computer?

barlevg Re:so, I'm in the more than 8 yrs ago camp (391 comments)

Really? Setting up a PPA is pretty straightforward. And who's bashing Windows? The OP asked for advice concerning a Linux build. The xorg.conf stuff I'll give you, but I just spent 2 hours trying to figure out why the new Windows machine at work wasn't recognizing its monitor when its twin did out of the box (the answer turned out to be the FX card drivers, and a more Windows-savvy user would have diagnosed the problem correctly in 5 mins, but that's not the point), so don't tell me Windows doesn't have display configuration issues.

about 3 months ago
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How long ago did you last assemble a computer?

barlevg Re:so, I'm in the more than 8 yrs ago camp (391 comments)

Uh... no. If I wanted to play games, I would have invested in an actual decent FX card rather than the cheapest POC I could find that would allow me to run D3D. I use Windows for three small applications whose authors never bothered to write Linux software or ensure Wine compatibility. Two of the three are pieces of software that came bundled with specialty USB devices.

As for me being a "Linux whore," I don't pay for Linux, and Linux certainly doesn't pay me, so I think that analogy fails.

about 3 months ago
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Student Uses Oculus Rift and Kinect To Create Body Swap Illusion

barlevg Forever Peace (88 comments)

VR control of robots (and body swapping/mind-sharing with other humans) is the central premise of Joe Haldeman's Forever Peace . Definitely a novel worth reading.

about 3 months ago
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Countries Don't Own Their Internet Domains, ICANN Says

barlevg Re:Identifiers (113 comments)

That's like saying I "own" the variable "x", and that all graphics programmers now need to pay me to lease use of that variable name.

Because that's never happened before.

about 3 months ago
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How long ago did you last assemble a computer?

barlevg Re:so, I'm in the more than 8 yrs ago camp (391 comments)

Ah, okay. Well I'll share with you my current build:

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

Intel i7-4790K CPU: $340 (I was gonna go for the i7-4770, but MicroCenter had the 4790K on sale for $280, and I jumped at it)

Gigabyte Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD5H: $165 (make sure you upgrade your BIOS to version F8--with F6 it was rebooting every couple of minutes)

Corsair Hydro H60 cooler: $60

SeaSonic 650-Watt G-Series power supply: $100 (WAAAY overkill for my system, but whatever. I chose it based on Tom's Hardware PSU tiering guide--wanted something close to the top with 600+ watts at less than $100)

G.SKILL Trident X Series RAM: 2x8GB for $165

SSDs and HDDs are kind of a personal choice in my opinion. I only buy Samsung SSDs and only buy WD HDDs, but other people will swear by different brands. SSDs are at about $0.50/GB

My case is the Cooler Master HAF-932, which has a metric ton of fans, great access ports and a large footprint. I think they've been discontinued in favor of the HAF-X: $170.

You might not need a dedicated GPU with that CPU/mobo combo--I only use it to run Direct3D on a Windows VM and run my displays off the IGFX. Depends on whether you're a gamer, in which case, consult your games for the recommended specs. I can tell you nVidia cards usually work decently well, but you have to futz with getting the correct drivers (proprietary vs. nouveau) and getting everything to play nice in your xorg.conf.

Any optical drive will do. I think mine cost $20. Make sure none of the online reviews complain of bloatware.

Keyboard, mouse, monitor--anything should be fine.

I think that's it! Total cost comes out to ~$1200. But it has top-notch performance regarding stuff like video editing and scientific computing. Linux compatibility is fine, though you'll need to use the alsa-daily PPA to get audio working, and a dedicated video card can, as previously stated, take some work to set up.

about 3 months ago
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How long ago did you last assemble a computer?

barlevg Re:so, I'm in the more than 8 yrs ago camp (391 comments)

I don't quite get this question: settle on some specs you want, then start building, checking compatibility as you go. For example: I started 4 years ago by knowing I wanted the AMD Phenom II 1090T CPU (top-of-the-line in its time) and knew I didn't mind how big it was. From there I selected the best ATX/ATX-Extended motherboard that had the most PCI slots, SATA ports and at least one FireWire port (ah, the days of FireWire). From there, I got the best reviewed case, PSU, HDD and RAM (checking for RAM compatibility, of course), and that was that. All that remains is assembly, which you gotta be *careful* about but certainly is not difficult. Of course, troubleshooting is a PITA, because it takes a while and a bit more expertise to figure out if it's a component that's bad (and if so which one) or if your problem is as simple as needing to update your BIOS.

about 3 months ago
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How long ago did you last assemble a computer?

barlevg Never Again, or at least, Not Until I Forget Again (391 comments)

Recently "upgraded" my four-year-old homebuilt box (replaced CPU, mobo, PSU and plan on replacing RAM & SSD next month), and it was a nightmare: driver/Linux-compatibility issues, Xorg issues, then the computer started randomly rebooting. At the end of it, I said, "This was such a nightmare. I've never had a computer assembly/upgrade go this bad," and my wife says, "That's what you said the last time." And indeed, I found some emailed notes from four years ago--turns out I had plenty of problems back then as well. On the one hand, part of me wants to say, "next time, I'm buying retail." On the other, I look at how little I spent on the parts vs. how much a new computer with these specs would have cost, and I realize I came out pretty far ahead.

about 3 months ago
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How long ago did you last assemble a computer?

barlevg Re:"assemble" or "reassmeble" (391 comments)

I'm trying to determine at which point an upgrade stops being an upgrade and starts being a "new computer for which I have reused some parts." I was beginning to grow frustrated at the performance of my 4-year-old AMD chip (which was top-of-the-line in its day), and so I decided to upgrade, but replacing the CPU required replacing the mobo as well (especially since the replacement chip is an Intel). In the process of that upgrade, I ended up replacing the PSU (though it turned out I didn't need to), and next month I'm investing in more RAM and a new SSD. So once that's done, the only thing I *won't* have replaced will be... the case? *I'm* still considering it the "same computer" but it seems rather silly when I have enough spare (replaced) parts at this point to make another...

about 3 months ago
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Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

barlevg Re:Just get a case (544 comments)

Sorry, my original post was unclear. I am completely uninterested in either phone, and those (plus the S4) are the only ones I've managed to find that have keyboard cases.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Mr. Schmidt Goes to Washington: a Look Inside Google's Lobbying Behemoth

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about 6 months ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "In May 2012, in the midst of an FTC investigation into Google's search practices, the law school at George Mason University in Northern Virginia hosted a conference attended by congressmen, regulators and staffers. The topic: competition, search and social media. What none of the attendees of the conference knew was that Google was pulling many of the strings behind the event, even going so far as to suggest invited speakers.

This event, as documented in The Washington Post is just a snapshot of the operations of one of the largest and highest spending lobbying entities in DC, a far cry from the one-man shop it started out as nine years ago, from a company "disdainful" of Washington's "pay-to-play" culture."

Link to Original Source
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ZunZuneo: USAID funded "Cuban Twitter" to undermine Communist regime

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about 7 months ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "In a country where the government severely limits access to the world wide web, ZunZeneo, an anonymous SMS-based social network, drew more than 40,000 Cuban users at its peak, the Associated Press reports. On it, people shared news and opinions about music and culture. But what none of its subscribers knew was that the project was secretly funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), though a series of shell corporations and foreign bank accounts, and that its stated goal was “renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society” in the Communist stronghold, hopefully leading to a "Cuban Spring.""
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Polar Vortex Likely Decimated Stink Bug Population, Experiment Suggests

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about 8 months ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "Each fall, a team led by Virginia Tech Professor of Entomology Thomas Kuhar gathers brown marmorated stink bugs from around campus and plops them into ventilated and insulated five-gallon buckets designed to simulate the habitats in which the bugs naturally wait out the winter. While previous lab tests have shown the insects capable of surviving chills of -20 C, last month's polar vortex proved too much for the little guys, with only 5% surviving the sustained cold conditions. This suggests that the DC area's population of stink bugs and other overwintering insects should be much lower come spring than in previous years."
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Irony is Dead: Tea Party Posts Material from Bioshock Infinite to Facebook Page

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about 10 months ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "The National Liberty Foundation, a Tea Party group, posted to their Facebook page an image featuring George Washington keeping at bay a crowd containing a wide assortment of ethnic groups above a banner reading "It is our holy duty to guard against the foreign hordes." While such images are hardly uncharacteristic of the group's photo stream, this particular image was in fact promotional material from from Irrational Games' BioShock Infinite, set in a dystopian city controlled by warring factions that "strive to keep the city for pure Americans" and worship the founding fathers as deities."
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FDA Not Convinced Antibacterial Soaps Stop the Spread of Germs

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about 10 months ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "It's long been a concern that the widespread use of antibacterials soaps is contributing towards the evolution of drug-resistant "superbugs," but as the Washington Post reports, the Food and Drug Administration also does not believe that there is any evidence to support that the antibacterial agents in soaps are any more effective at killing germs than simply washing with soap and water. Under the terms of a proposal under consideration, the FDA will require that manufacturers making such claims will have to show proof. If they fail to do so, they will be required to change their marketing or even stop selling the products altogether.

The Washington Post cites concerns that triclosan interferes with hormone production, but it should be noted that is is based on animal studies, and that at least one human study has shown no effect on hormone levels in adults using toothpaste containing triclosan."

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NSA Broke Into Links Between Google, Yahoo Datacenters

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about a year ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "The Washington Post reports that, according to documents obtained from Edward Snowden, through their so-called "MUSCULAR" initiative, the National Security Agency has exploited a weakness in the transfers between data centers, which Google and others pay a premium to send over secure fiber optic cables. The leaked documents include a post-it note as part of an internal NSA Powerpoint presentation showing a diagram of Google network traffic, an arrow pointing to the Google front-end server with text reading, "SSL Added and Removed Here" with a smiley face. When shown the sketch by The Post and asked for comment, two engineers with close ties to Google responded with strings of profanity."
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White House Fires Employee Over Anonymous Twitter Feed

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about a year ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "@NatSecWonk, a Twitter feed posting (often scathing) commentary on the administration's foreign policy and on reporting of national security issues, went dark last week, and its owner, unmasked as Jofi Joseph, a member of the National Security Council and an expert in nonproliferation, was reportedly fired. None of the tweets contained any information of a classified or sensitive nature, so any further action against Joseph seems unlikely."
Link to Original Source
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Overcoming Racism in Cinema... From the Technical Side

barlevg barlevg writes  |  1 year,1 day

barlevg (2111272) writes "Since the birth of film, shooting subjects of darker complexion has been a technical challenge: light meters, film emulsions, tone and color models, and the dynamic range of the film itself were all calibrated for light skin, resulting in dark skin appearing ashy and washed-out. Historically, filmmakers have used workarounds involving "a variety of gels, scrims and filters." But now we live in the age of digital filmmaking, and as film critic Ann Hornaday describes in the Washington Post, and as is showcased in recent films such as "12 Years a Slave," "Mother of George" and "Black Nativity," a collection of innovators have set to work developing techniques in lighting, shooting and post-processing designed to counteract century-old technological biases as old as the medium itself."
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Full Screen Mario: Making the Case for Shorter Copyrights

barlevg barlevg writes  |  1 year,1 day

barlevg (2111272) writes "A college student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute spent nine months meticulously remaking Super Mario Bros. based on the latest web standards. His project is open source and the code freely available through Github. The site recently gained widespread media attention, which unfortunately brought it to the attention of Nintendo, which has requested that the site be taken down.

In a column on the Washington Post website, tech blogger Timothy Lee makes the case for how this is a prime example of copyrights hindering innovation and why copyright lengths should be shortened. Among his arguments: copyrights hinder innovation by game designers seeking to build upon such games, and shortening copyright would breathe new life into games who have long since passed into obsolescence."
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Nobel Winners Exemplify Israel's "Brain Drain" Problem

barlevg barlevg writes  |  1 year,8 days

barlevg (2111272) writes "Two of the three scientists sharing this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry have Israeli citizenship, with Dr. Arieh Warshel having been born and educated in Israel, yet both are based at universities in the United States. These two scientists are perhaps the highest profile examples of a growing problem in the so-called "start-up nation," which is known for its high-tech tech companies and scientific innovation, and yet which loses more researchers to emigration than any other western nation. The problem? Large salary gaps between US and Israeli institutions. As Daniel Hershkowitz, president of Bar-Ilan University put it, "I don't see Israel being able to compete with what they offer in the United States.""
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Most Cave Paintings Were Painted By Women

barlevg barlevg writes  |  1 year,9 days

barlevg (2111272) writes "Analyzing hand-prints found in cave sites, an archaeologist from Penn State University has concluded that roughly 75% of all ancient cave art was painted by women. Previously it was thought that neolithic cave paintings were made mostly by men, perhaps to chronicle their kills. But an analysis of the relative lengths of fingers in hand stencils found on cave walls suggests that it was mostly prehistoric women--not men--who created these works."
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Chemical Analysis Separates Cat Poop Coffee from Fakes

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about a year ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "Kopi Luwak, or civet coffee, consists of coffee berries that have been partially digested by an Indonesian tree-dwelling cat called the palm civet. The digestive process, coupled with the wild civet's selectivity in eating from the choicest plants, is said to impart an exquisite, exotic flavor. However, its high price (the coffee can retail for as much as $600 per pound) has led to the market being flooded with fake and low-grade products, which may contribute to negative Western impressions of the brew. Now, a team of Japanese scientists have developed a test for separating the real beans from knock-offs by looking at tell-tale signs of the civet's predigestive process in the finished product (abstract here). Says researcher Sastia Prama Putri, "We want to be sure people around the world can try the real Kopi Luwak."

As an aside, animal cruelty is also a concern, as the high demand for Kopi Luwak has led to civets being captured and caged. As civets in captivity have no choice about what they eat, it is likely these caged animals produce an inferior product to their wild counterparts."
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New Brain-to-Brain Interface Allows Human to Control Another's Movements

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about a year ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "Earlier this year, researchers at Harvard devised a system by which a human could control a rat's tail using only the person's thoughts. Now a team at the University of Washington have demonstrated that the same principle can be applied to human-to-human control. The Washington Post reports: "First, they placed electronic probes against their heads. Then one man looked at a computer game on a screen and thought about what move he wanted to make. Sure enough, the other man, who was across campus with no view of the screen, almost instantaneously moved his right index finger to make that move. He said it had the sensation of a nervous tic.""
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Study Suggest Violent Video Games May Make Teens Less Violent

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about a year ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "A new paper is out in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence which shows no positive correlation between playing violent video games and acts of aggression. The study of 377 children with attention deficit and depressive symptoms in fact showed a slight negative correlation between video game-playing and aggressive behavior such as bullying, which the researchers posit is due to the games awarding some measure of catharsis. The full paper is available online (PDF)."
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NWS to Al Gore: There Is No "Category Six" Hurricane

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about a year ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "In a recent interview, former Vice President and environmental activist Al Gore made a bold claim, that man-made global warming was causing hurricanes to be formed of such severity that "they’re adding a 6" to the hurricane scale, going on to say that "The fingerprint of man-made global warming is all over these storms and extreme weather events." In response, the National Weather Service has responded that they have no plans to add a "doomsday Category 6" to their rating scale: "No, we’re not pursuing any such change. I’m also not sure who VP Gore means by 'they,'" also noting that "Category 5 has no ceiling: it includes hurricanes with top sustained winds of 157 mph and higher." Furthermore, a recently leaked United Nations climate assessment claims only “low confidence” of a link between human activity and increased hurricane severity and that this is likely due to increased human settlement in coastal areas and other regions vulnerable to natural disasters."
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Weather Control Conspiracy Theories are Scientifically Lucicrous

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about a year ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang breaks down two popular conspiracy theories: that HAARP is responsible for severe weather and that contrails from commercial airliners are actually "chemtrails" sprayed for nefarious purposes, and explains why each is preposterous to anyone with even an elementary knowledge of meteorology or an iota common sense. The author readily acknowledges that his analysis will do nothing to convince the tinfoil-hat-wearing, vinegar-spraying members of the populace."
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Google continues to translate "undocumented" as "illegal immigrant"

barlevg barlevg writes  |  about a year ago

barlevg (2111272) writes "While the New York Times, the Associated Press and others have chosen to discontinue the use of the term "illegal immigrant" in favor of "undocumented" Google Translate continues to translate the Spanish word "indocumentado" as "illegal immigrant." Google's response: "Since the translations are generated by machine, they’re not always perfect, but we're constantly working to improve the quality of our algorithms, and we appreciate this feedback.""
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