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Ask Slashdot: Which Ph.D For Work In Applied Statistics / C.S.?

burnin1965 Technology companies need a variety of knowledge (173 comments)

From my experience in semiconductor manufacturing, technology companies frequently hire individuals with degrees and areas of research that deviate from the core function of the business. Be prepared to discuss the details of your research and work while pursuing your degree and you will do fine.

Many of the skills utilized in your education are common across job fields and in some cases they are not utilized as often as they should in the work place. Some examples include...

- The scientific process itself. A sound decision process is key to problem solving within technology businesses and all too often mistakes are made by "gut feeling" or "common sense" decisions that are followed far too quickly without proper critical thinking.

- Understanding statistical significance and proper reading or presentation of statistical data. This is a hugely critical field to technology companies and at the same time a massive weak point in U.S. businesses. In my opinion there should be some basic statistics courses in K-12 education.

- Working in groups. U.S. corporations spend millions in consultant and training fees trying to instil some group working skills into employees but from what I have seen it is very difficult, and in some cases impossible, to teach people to set aside their individualistic wild west cowboy mentality.

- Communication and presentation skills. Meetings are frowned upon, partly due to the lack of group work skills, yet they are also necessary. You will quickly lose an audience that already doesn't want to be there so you need good communication skills to both keep the attention of individuals but also to transfer the information and knowledge effectively.

There are many more, of course, but these are just a few that come to mind.

about 3 years ago
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NASA Successfully Test Fires J-2X Engine.

burnin1965 Re:at the risk of sounding like a heartless bastar (119 comments)

at the risk of sounding like a heartless bastard

Actually the risk is more one of sounding like you were too lazy to do even the most basic google search and reading about the J-2X.

There were multiple reasons why the J-2 was selected as the base starting point for a secondary stage engine, mainly the existing performance parameters from the original design and the cost savings gained by not starting from scratch.

However, the J-2X actually has a significant amount of R&D that have gone into improvements well beyond the old design.

This is a decent short video on the J-2X re-engineering work.

about 3 years ago
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Environmental Enforcement Agents Targeting Guitars

burnin1965 Re:Hysteria! Panic! (379 comments)

Except this raid is about Indian rosewood and the Indian government has gone on record saying they fell the law was complied with.

Then again maybe not...

This guy has gotten his hands on some of the court records that the WSJ and the libertarian spam machine conveniently missed...

"When the wood entered the U.S. en route to Gibson, it was missing the plant products declaration required by the Lacey Act. This looks like it's where Gibson got caught.

When the declaration was made a day later, it was listed as ebony harvested from Madagascar."

Now this potentially may not be an issue as some ebony products from Madagascar are legal, as is mentioned in the article, but only from naturally felled trees. But there are circumstances surrounding the wood that infers it is not legal ebony. And to top it off, if you read the report I posted in the previous comment, the use of wood products from Madagascar is not allowed under FSC certification so Gibson is also in violation of their certification to be using sustainable wood products. Madagascar is not certified due to the illegal black market trade.

I am sorry but this entire thing wreaks of lies, greed, and corruption. All of which is ignored by the aforementioned propaganda machine. And there is a reason it is ignored, because those behind the propaganda actually could not care any less about laws or sustainability. Their only master is greed at all other costs both tangible and intangible.

more than 3 years ago
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Environmental Enforcement Agents Targeting Guitars

burnin1965 Re:Hysteria! Panic! (379 comments)

Fact: Suspected illegal materials seized from manufacturer.
Article speculation: guitars will be seized by Nazi enforcers from individuals.

What's is even worse is the level of manufactured internet outrage that drowns out any factual content. Try to do a search to find some unbiased information and facts and 99% of what you find are the initial biased articles and the massive flood of propaganda fed from the biased outlets to all their minion blog sites.

And the sad part, slashdot is becoming part of this libertarian spam fest that starts with the billionaire owned propaganda factories and floods the rest of the internet through their religiously devout followers.

In the tsunami of fake blog spots and shill foot soldiers who do no fact checking or authoring of their own but instead simply fart out the crap that is fed from the propaganda machine to thousands of shill blogs I was able to find a bit of interesting detail. But the hysterical libertarian fanboys wont like it because the source holds ideals that are counter to their religion...

November 2009 Statement in Response to the United States Fish & Wildlife Service's Investigation of Gibson Guitar Corporation

"The wood under investigation is not FSC-certified nor is it allowed in any FSC-certified product."

"The certificate does not cover wood from Madagascar."

There appear to be some serious questions about new sources of materials that Gibson have tapped into. And contrary to the libertarian fanboy ranting about ineffective regulatory measures it sure sounds like the regulations have been a win for not only sustainable forestry but also for the livelihood of the producers in the source nations who are certified.

We likely wont know much until the investigation is complete but there will be no end to this new libertarian spamming machine that floods the internet and is poisoning slashdot with the biased propaganda oozing from the billionaire media machines.

more than 3 years ago
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Study Shows Programmers Get Better With Age

burnin1965 Re:Known this one for a long time... (352 comments)

I would suggest starting at the U.S. Small Business Administration. There is a lot of useful online information.

Next locate a local office and see what free seminars you can attend to get instruction and answers from those who have already started businesses. They usually have classes on accounting, licensing, laws, etc.

I don't know anything about Kickstart but I personally would avoid any start up service companies and VCs until you at least have a better understanding of what your business needs entail.

I believe there are many opportunities to bring products to the market that leverage open source software. As far as the hardware I am unsure because my hardware experience is limited to off the shelf commodity equipment.

more than 3 years ago
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Study Shows Programmers Get Better With Age

burnin1965 Re:Known this one for a long time... (352 comments)

I'm also too accustomed to just running down to the local surplus stores (bay area has quite a few) and being able to build and hack on my hardware stuff (places like HSC electronics kind of keep me locked to the bay area; and if you're into hardware, you understand what I'm saying).

With an interest, education, and work experience in electronics I can tell you that Silicon Valley is a place to envy. I don't live in Silicon Valley but over the years I have spent a lot of time there on business trips and the quantity and ease of availability for equipment and components is amazing.

And Silicon Valley is still a hot bed of start ups and new technology. While the unemployment rate for unskilled or common skilled workers is bad the rate for technically skilled is well below both the California and the national average. Unless someone had a solid job offer for you outside of Silicon Valley I would not even consider moving.

I have been doing some freelance web development and system administration world wide and the areas that are continually hot are the Bay Area, New York City, and to some extent the Denver area. You are correct that there are a lot of low ball contracts and gigs but I suspect a good number of these are actually sub-contracting to real developers to take advantage of the current employment market by bidding on work and then expecting you to do the work for peanuts while they collect the profits for doing little more than re-posting a clients request. Just ignore them and keep looking.

Honestly I think a person with lots of experience should be looking at starting their own business or partnering with others to take advantage of the technology benefits in the Bay Area.

more than 3 years ago
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HTC Infringed Apple Patents, Says ITC's Initial Determination

burnin1965 Re:patent infringement infinite loop (230 comments)

Instead, the companies will all cross-licence to reach a stalemate, but with their combined patent portfolios, they will be able to prevent any new competitors arising.

Sadly, you are correct.

The Sewing Machine Combination was probably the first example of the patent system going insane, resulting in the failure of anyone to innovate or produce the products the market was demanding, and eventually resulted in a small group of patent holders banding together in a licensing truce until the problematic patents expired.

Another example was the impact of patent battles in the fresh aeronautics industry in the United States that resulted in virtually no U.S. made airplanes being available for the United States military. The government had to step in and thump some heads to stop the stupidity and bring manufacturers together in a patent pool.

more than 3 years ago
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HTC Infringed Apple Patents, Says ITC's Initial Determination

burnin1965 Re:Patents (230 comments)

The first Blackberry phone came out in 1999. The patent was filed in 1996 and issued in 1999.

Did RIM license this patent? If not then this is a clear case of Laches (equity) and the judge should tell Apple to STFU and stop acting like a scumbag.

more than 3 years ago
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Congress Voting To Repeal Incandescent Bulb Ban

burnin1965 Re:CFL are no savings (990 comments)

I was looking at the Canadian Home Depot web site and holy crap, you guys are getting screwed. The CFLs are way over priced.

Anyhow, that said, even a $5 CFL is going to pay for itself in a year even on cheap electricity (power is $0.08 / kwh where I am located and from what I know this is cheap). If your power is as expensive as your CFLs then the pay back will be much faster.

more than 3 years ago
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Congress Voting To Repeal Incandescent Bulb Ban

burnin1965 Re:CFL are no savings (990 comments)

even one or two failures basically means you've wiped out any savings for the next decade or so

One or two failures in a single bulb installation will set you back for 1 or 2 years at the most. A decade is an extreme exaggeration.

more than 3 years ago
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Congress Voting To Repeal Incandescent Bulb Ban

burnin1965 Re:CFL are no savings (990 comments)

a good incandescent will last just as long or longer with the same light output than CFLs will.

I started using CFLs almost 20 years ago, both my experience and all the published data comparing incandescent bulbs to CFLs contradict your statement.

more than 3 years ago
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Congress Voting To Repeal Incandescent Bulb Ban

burnin1965 Re:CFL are no savings (990 comments)

I have had several CFL's fail within months

Several? As others have noted, you need to take them back to the store because that sounds like a bad batch run from the factory.

Statistically CFLs are in fact a huge cost saver in the long run and they do in fact last many times longer than incandescent bulbs. The bad thing is that when one person like yourself ends up being one of the data points that falls well outside the mean you will be turned off from the product for a long time even though statistically you will have significant savings if you stick with it.

Case in point, an 18 pack of GE 60W equivalent CFL bulbs are $20.14 at Lowes. If you use the bulb 4 hours a day then your energy usage is reduced by 45 * 4 * 365 / 1000 = 65.7 kwh per year. Where I am at power is about $0.08 / kwh which is a savings of $5.256 per year for each bulb in use and the bulb pays for itself in a little under 5 months. I have three 60W equivalent CFLs on the front of my house that have been operational for over 12 years now which has saved me about $189. With those savings I could buy enough CFLs to cover over 50 more houses in my neighborhood.

And do they really think anyone is properly disposing of these bulbs?

This is an issue but addressing mercury contamination in a landfill is much different from dealing with mercury spread across miles of landscape, rivers and lakes. The mercury level in the fresh water lakes where I live have reached the point where there are now warnings about eating the trout caught from these lakes.

more than 3 years ago
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Have American Businesses Been Stranded By the MBAs?

burnin1965 Re:You need different kinds of people (487 comments)

A good manager needs to be a translator in the first place, he needs to translate between his engineers, his designers, his sales people, his financial people and the customers, all of which are using different languages.

And I would say that falls under breaking down barriers. Complex problems that rely on multiple disciplines across corporate departments and/or rely on support for contractors and suppliers requires a broad perspective of the environment and the ability to identify and quickly alleviate road blocks that impede routine or special operations. This is a big part of what MBAs should be learning to do but at the same time I know from experience that you don't have to be an MBA to pick up the necessary skills.

more than 3 years ago
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Have American Businesses Been Stranded By the MBAs?

burnin1965 Re:You need different kinds of people (487 comments)

Historically, we'd still be coaxing marmots to eat from trees with rotten fruit if we hadn't developed more efficient, evil ways of harvesting meat.

So now we also need to worry about the MBAs killing and eating all the technical people?!?

I guess the main advantage of good people being in charge is that now, or a thousand years from now, we'd see little difference.

Huh? It is the evil people who develop the technology and science that has advanced human civilization?

more than 3 years ago
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Have American Businesses Been Stranded By the MBAs?

burnin1965 Re:You need different kinds of people (487 comments)

Good example of this is the linux usability and GUI.

One word, Android.

You are wrongly accusing weaknesses in linux desktop GUI functionality with the difficulty of penetrating an entrenched market. I have used Windows, OSX, OS/2, Irix, linux (gnome, KDE, XFCE) extensively and the Windows and OSX GUIs have their failings the biggest failing being the retarded "it wasn't developed here" brick wall. A good example, multiple desktops, they have been available in the linux GUI for ages but blind stubbornness kept them from being a standard part of other GUIs.

People work best together. You mix the best attributes from several different kinds of people.

And some people just don't play well with others.

True story: While working full time as an engineer I went back to school and was taking some courses that were a mix of information technology and business management so many of the fellow students were business types coming from the other end of the spectrum. This was during the late 90s when the economy was booming and technical skills were in demand and good wages were required to retain talent. During a break a CIO employed at one company was conversing with a middle manager of software development from another company. They knew in common various talented people who had worked for both of them at one time or another but had moved around to gain better wages and benefits. The CIO made a telling comment, "when this boom economy ends we are going to get back at them", them being the technical people who did not stick around for the lower wages and benefits.

True story: Working with a group of engineers an equipment upgrade plan was developed that would reduce chemical usage costs and reduce hazardous waste disposal costs. Our calculations showed a 1 year payback due to reduced costs alone with the currently intangible benefit of advancing process performance for future product needs that the product designers and process engineers predicted. In presenting the project to the division VP in front of factory management I was laughed at and told "if engineers were putting your own money into these projects you would put more realistic cost savings numbers" which was followed by a round of laughter from management. My response was that I would put up my own cash to fund the project but I expected to collect any measured profitable gains as my return on investment. The laughing stopped and everyone had a poker face. The project was not approved and two years later when the latest product design was released for full production the equipment that was the target of the engineering upgrade was causing huge yield losses due to ineffective performance on the new product design.

We need the talent of MBAs, they learn valuable business skills and techniques in school, but they are currently overrated and overreaching in their decisions and control. When you extend this to the MBAs who climb the corporate ladder to the board level they are corrosive not only to their own work force but to the entire economy and future of the nation.

more than 3 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: CS Degree Without Gen-Ed Requirements?

burnin1965 Stop scheming and take the damned classes. (913 comments)

First, participating in general education classes is in no way a waste of time. Practicing and learning skills and knowledge in an array of topics is always beneficial and has a greater impact on an individuals effectiveness and ability to interact and collaborate within a society, within groups, and with other individuals. And whether or not your high school education covered the same topics it is unlikely the teachers and material will be identical and unlike many technical courses the general education classes can often provide new perspective and insight simply because you are learning from a different teacher and different book.

Second, if you truly do want a CS degree then stop wasting time trying to figure out how to work your way around the general education requirements and just take the damn classes. The time you spend taking these classes is a drop in the bucket compared to the probable amount of time you have to live and work in a career and hopefully even go back later and take more classes to expand your knowledge, experience, and perspective. It always astounds me when I see intelligent people who have the opportunity but waste precious years not getting an advanced education and usually it is due to the most minuscule barriers such as "I don't want to take the general ed classes, they are a waste of my time".

Just do it.

more than 3 years ago
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Learning Programming In a Post-BASIC World

burnin1965 Re:JavaScript (510 comments)

I would concur on Javascript. No need to buy or learn a complex IDE, easy to learn and use like BASIC with the ability to print lines without complex GUI concepts, and just about any laptop or PC with a web browser and a basic text editor is ready to go.

more than 3 years ago
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How To Succeed In IT Without Really Trying

burnin1965 Re:Not limited to IT (283 comments)

What a crock of shit. Occam's razor suggests your just a brain dead ideological twit.

Labor unions in the United States have been decimated over the past 30 to 40 years and on top of record low participation in unions the unionization of the information technology field is virtually non-existent.*

With almost non-existent union participation in the IT field the problems with incompetence obviously has no relation to unionization. On top of the reality that I suspect points out a completely fictitious anecdote in your post is the irony that the competent workers in the field are screwed over by the companies they work for and unionization would provide them with the bargaining power to end some of the exploitation.

I have seen how capable system administrators are burned out with over burdening and are lured into carrying a fancy geek gadget cell phone as some type of a bonus when in fact it is a trick to get more work out of the capable admins for no increase in pay when in fact these corporations just need to break down and hire more people to cover the work load AND pay the capable employees what they are worth.

* Computer and mathematical occupations 2010 union membership = 4%
    Professional and technical services 2010 union membership = 1.4%

more than 3 years ago
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HTC Is Paying Microsoft $5 For Every Android Phone

burnin1965 Re:Buying HTC (261 comments)

We're already paying roughly $10 a phone for all the media codec licenses; MP3, h.264, etc (none of which I actually use on my current phone), but paying Microsoft an extra $5 feels dirty.

It should feel dirty, even though you are not using them at least you did receive a usable codec for your media licensing fee, you wont get jack from Microsoft for the $5 fee.

more than 2 years ago
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HTC Is Paying Microsoft $5 For Every Android Phone

burnin1965 Re:WP7 (261 comments)

It seems that they are saying that Google took Microsofts idea and implemented it better.

On top of that, Microsoft needs to have a major developer purge because they must have IP leaks. Android was developed and released before WP7. Or perhaps Google has their own black ops men who stare at goats using paranormal techniques to suck the IP out of Microsoft remotely.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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California back in the Rare Earth mining game

burnin1965 burnin1965 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

burnin1965 (535071) writes "With increasing prices on rare earth ore, tariffs raised by the Chinese government, and the threat of embargoes that would damage United States high-tech manufacturing Molycorp now has the needed incentive to reopen the California Mountain Pass mine. They will spend the capital needed to implement badly needed updates to environmental controls that will mitigate the radioactive waste water releases that plagued the mine in the past.

Chinese imports in the 90s nearly halved ore prices and the California mine experienced multiple failures in environmental controls that resulted in the release of huge volumes of radioactive waste water. Updating the mine to address the environmental issues was not financially viable due to the cheap Chinese imports so it was closed in 2002. Actions by the Chinese and the ever growing need for rare earth elements have provided Molycorp with the financial incentive to invest in the needed environmental controls and reopen the mine."

Link to Original Source
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Remote operated aircraft targets hurricanes

burnin1965 burnin1965 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

burnin1965 (535071) writes "Usually news articles about remote operated UAVs involve blowing people up, NASA's application takes a different path and uses the utility of the aircraft for scientific research that will benefit humanity. I haven't ready much about NASA's Global Hawk lately but they have been busy lately providing up close access to the recent string of hurricanes."
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Toyota ready to ship accelerator fix

burnin1965 burnin1965 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

burnin1965 (535071) writes "The news this morning is that Toyota has a solution for the 2.3 million vehicles now recalled for uncontrolled acceleration.

The cause of the uncontrolled acceleration has been narrowed down to two issues, improperly installed floor mats that are not hooked and creep up onto the accelerator and a design or material problem in the metal housing where the accelerator pedal pivots which causes excessive friction that prevents the accelerator from returning after pressed.

Based on comments everywhere about the obvious safety issues with relying on ethereal electronics versus a greasy cable, and setting aside the strange behaviour of electrons, who wants to rely on something that can't decide if it wants to be a particle or a wave, I predict a major backlash against Toyota for not completely removing all the paradoxical particle wave magical electronic components in their cars and replacing them with a good solid harness, buggy whip and of course a manure bag to catch those horse apples before they hit the wind shield."

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Automatic London Exchange trading curbs?

burnin1965 burnin1965 writes  |  about 5 years ago

burnin1965 (535071) writes "The debt woes in Dubai have resulted in a major sell off in European markets today but the London Exchange was suspended for more than three hours. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your perspective, it was due to technical problems and "connectivity issues". The NYSE utilizes automatic trading curbs when panic selling threatens the market, should they hold off on replacing the .NET software running the London Stock Exchange?"
Link to Original Source
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Are the iPhone/iTouch web share statistics bogus?

burnin1965 burnin1965 writes  |  about 5 years ago

burnin1965 (535071) writes "It appears the smartphone market is about to heat up with new operating systems, applications and hardware from various providers. In the midst of these new releases the market is presented with various statistics that provide insight into the direction of the market. This insight can have an effect on perception and ultimately sales of products. I noticed various articles based on AdMob data that shows a huge web market share for the Apple OS X based mobile devices which I found peculiar as I had also read hand set sales reports that demonstrated very different results.

While the AdMob data shows the Apple iPhone OS holding the #1 position with a 40% share of the web market the hand set sales suggest the iPhone is #3 with less than 14% of sales and well behind Symbian OS based devices which hold over 40% of sales. I suppose you could chalk it up to demographics and how different users utilize their phones. Then again looking at my Apache logs it appears something else may be at play here that skews the web statistics.

I do not create mobile specific content on my web site but I've observed an unusually high number of hits with what appear to be iPhone agent strings.
"Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1A543a Safari/419.3"

And in some cases these clients are requesting content that does not exist on my web site.
"GET /apple-touch-icon.png HTTP/1.0" 404
"GET /mobile/ HTTP/1.0" 404
"GET /iphone/ HTTP/1.0" 404

And even more curious, the results of a whois on the IP address from virtually all of the hits resolve to the Amazon EC2 cloud computing center.
[burnin@master ~]$ whois 67.202.24.121
[Querying whois.arin.net]
[whois.arin.net]

OrgName: Amazon.com, Inc.
OrgID: AMAZO-4
Address: Amazon Web Services, Elastic Compute Cloud, EC2
Address: 1200 12th Avenue South
City: Seattle
StateProv: WA
PostalCode: 98144
Country: US

It appears there are web crawlers out there advertising themselves as Apple mobile devices scouring the web. I'm not sure why they chose the iPhone agent string as the iPhone is well behind the Symbian OS in market share or why they don't advertise themselves as a web crawler looking for mobile content. I'm fairly certain that Amazon is not running their cloud computing center off iPhones. ;)

So I'm curious, are other Slashdot readers observing the same patterns in their web logs and how likely is it that the AdMob data and all these market share articles are factual? Could it be that iPhone OS market share on the web is bloated by a mobile search engine crawling as an iPhone?"

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Robot project taps Open Source

burnin1965 burnin1965 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

burnin1965 writes "I was reading through an industry rag today and came across an interesting article about the RobotCub Consortium and their intention to rely on Open Source for "...better collaboration, reproducibility of results, shared debugging, faster improvement, etc.,".

The use of proprietary solutions presented difficulties which arise in many research and devleopment projects:

All of the researchers agreed that the open-source path is important. "Commercial software requires and imposes a wall. One has to stop, worry about how and how much to pay, [then determine], 'Does it run on a second computer? Can I have a student use this?' etc.," Sigaud said. By contrast, "The iCub open-source simulator can be downloaded quickly and freely, and anyone from a clever high school student to a seasoned researcher can begin to use it immediately, to share their results and to benefit from the collective effort of the surrounding community."

"

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The Economic Crisis: How it really happened.

burnin1965 burnin1965 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

burnin1965 writes "With all the partisan "journalism" in the media these days its nice to see someone with the courage to call it how it is. While its never been easy to pursue the "American Dream" it seems these days there is the extra burden of carrying the weight of the latest "American Scam".

While its financially painful enduring the current economic crisis it was refreshing to read an article by Laura Rowley where she calls it as it is ...

"Another mania, another bubble. The winners get out before it bursts, the man who follows the rules is cursed. With a sense of entitlement and plenty of greed, you can win this game with lightning speed. I've told the tale, and now I'm finished."

And the American Dream was greatly diminished.
"

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burnin1965 burnin1965 writes  |  about 8 years ago

burnin1965 (535071) writes "It looks like our friends at NTP are at it again, but then what else does anyone expect from a patent troll?

Palm has taken a beating over the past few years and now NTP, fresh from their last shakedow...I mean vindication, are coming down hard on the weakened PALM with an immediate loss of over $120 million in value.

I'm not sure how much Palm can take but I sure hope they can do a better job of holding out against these parasites. If Palm and the others go out of business is NTP going to provide the technology the world demands, not likely."

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