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Comments

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I expect to retire ...

erice "retirement" == terminal unemployment (228 comments)

Given the volatility of the job market and age discrimination, I will probably "retire" when it becomes clear that I will never get another job. I hope have enough saved up to survive when that happens but I'm not real optimistic. There's a good chance that much of everyone's retirement savings will evaporate as economy rebalances to the inequity of too many people not working and living off of "investments" and not enough people actually producing.

2 days ago
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I expect to retire ...

erice Social security is wealth transfer, not savings (228 comments)

That's exactly why we have Social Security - it forces people to put aside money so that, no matter what, they have something by retirement.

It does no such thing. Social Security forces working people to pay for the retirement of those born earlier. While there are rules that require paying in in order to collect, those rules have little to do with where the money comes from and the actual dollars you pay in have nothing to do with the amount you collect. What you collect depends on how much money is coming in at the time you collect and politics. There isn't any "no matter what". You always get out of Social Security whatever politicians can and are willing to give. Population demographics means that if you are post-Boomer you will likely pay a lot and get nearly nothing.

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Good Print Media Is Left?

erice IEEE Spectrum, much more than electronics (282 comments)

It covers a wide variety of technical topics with quite a bit of depth. I get it by default by being an IEEE member. However, it seems that you can subscribe directly too.

2 days ago
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Nat Geo Writer: Science Is Running Out of "Great" Things To Discover

erice No mysteries solvable within a lifetime (292 comments)

If you take the Nobel prize evidence as having fundamental meaning (and I'm not sure it does), what it seems to suggest is not that we have only loose ends to tie up. It is pretty obvious that there are still big mysteries left to solve. However, it may be the the remaining mysteries just too difficult to solve within a human lifetime. If the easy problems are solved first and the remaining puzzles become progressively more difficult then, without some sort of intelligence expansion, the inevitable result is that problems can no longer be solved by any sort of directed action. Rather, generations work on a problem until someone randomly stumbles on a solution. Eventually, solutions can not be recognized or understood, even when found and progress stops. The universe might still have mysteries but none remain that we have the capacity to solve.

about a week ago
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How Cochlear Implants Are Being Blamed For Killing Deaf Culture

erice Loss of culture for those left behind (509 comments)

Putting aside the radicalism, there is a legitimate issue: the fix does not work for everyone and those left behind will face a diminished culture as their numbers dwindle. Specifically, those profoundly deaf who reached adulthood never able to hear will never learn to speak even if they get the implant. There are probably others who are medically not able to accept the implant but the articles I have found do not discuss this issue.

about two weeks ago
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OKCupid Warns Off Mozilla Firefox Users Over Gay Rights

erice It is a crude marketing trick (1482 comments)

But the page changed on April 1, right?

No. It changed on March 31. I think it is simply a marketing trick. Pretend to take a stand. Gets lots of buzz for free. Give the impression that you are still hip. Never mind that for the last year or two, Okcupid has been showing that they don't even care about their own user community. Function has been reduced drastically. Non-mainstream users have been marginalized. Forums are no longer monitored. The only communication that comes out is the occasional obvious lie. "We are working hard and making the site better for you!" (my removing all the features that you used and adding virtually nothing)

about two weeks ago
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Astronauts' Hearts Change Shape In Space

erice Or maybe heart shape is distorted by gravity (113 comments)

If hearts became more rounded through increased muscle mass then that could be evidence that hearts performance inefficiently in zero-g. Unfortunately, the teaser articles doesn't say that. Just changing shape could simply mean that heart development is normally distorted by gravity and without gravity, you naturally get a more rounded shape. A third possibility is that the longer shape is muscle mass needed to counteract gravity. Without gravity, there is no need so that extra muscle is lost. I suppose that could be a form of inefficiency since it means that heart is overbuilt for the task.

I might be interesting to study the hearts of hearts of people who stay horizontal. Generally these with be comatose or otherwise bed-ridden without sitting up. Not a perfect analogy, though, since these patients are not getting any exercise while the astronauts are.

about three weeks ago
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GNOME 3.12 Released

erice Re:Meet the new boss: (134 comments)

Session Saving in gnome-terminal was as reliable as anything else in Gnome and highly useful. Where session saving was not reliable is that it didn't work for all apps. But removing the code from gnome-terminal doesn't help that cause. Gnome-shell still supports session-saving which means you it still saves state for Firefox and Thunderbird. (window location and size, mostly. Firefox has it's own session saving ability)

about three weeks ago
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GNOME 3.12 Released

erice Re:Meet the new boss: (134 comments)

Meet the new boss: same as the old boss.

You mean: "Meet the new boss, worse than the old boss". Gnome keeps removing features. Session saving for gnome-terminal was removed several versions ago supposedly because they have a new way of doing this. Only they didn't actually implement the new way. They just took out the old and left it.

about three weeks ago
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Is Analog the Fix For Cyber Terrorism?

erice Re:Because no analog system has (245 comments)

No, it is not. If the remote analog access is by a dedicated wire (and that is what you do in analog), then the attacker has to have physical access to that wire

And that dedicated wire could control digital circuitry or even a conventional computer running software. So what is your point?

The only advantage of analog is that control methods are generally so limited that doing something stupid like sending a critical control signal over the Internet is not possible. However, the cost is very very high and it doesn't do anything that following a policy of never sending controls over the Internet would not do. Further, without such a policy, the security advantage is lost the first time someone gets the bright idea of inserting a repeater.

about a month ago
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AT&T, Audi Announce In-Car 4G LTE Plans, Starting At $99 For 6 Months

erice Just in time to be obsolete (74 comments)

It is LTE. LTE-Advanced (the real "4G") is supposed to start rolling out this year.

The average vehicle life is 11.4 years. That means this car will have an obsolete wireless connection for nearly 11 years. At the rate that new standards come out and frequencies shuffle, you may not be able to get service at all in the last couple of years.

about a month ago
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Daylight Saving Time ...

erice Re:so much hate (310 comments)

I just wish they'd pick one time -- Daylight Saving or Standard, I don't care which -- and keep that year round

That is equivalent to abolishing Daylight Saving Time. Day Saving Time only works (for rather feeble values of "works") if the time changes. If it stays the same, schedules will simply readjust over time to follow the sun. A good example of this is Easter Island: the official time is two hours ahead of solar time. Therefore businesses open and close two hours "later" than they do on the mainland.

about a month ago
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NASA Admits It Gave Jet Fuel Discounts To Google Execs' Company

erice Re:Not a subsidy? (126 comments)

Right. It looks like NASA was simply selling fuel based on their own cost. They may have long term contracts and/or just not buy fuel all that often so it is possible for that on any given day, their costs are askew with average retail rates. Now I guess they will hire someone to monitor retail fuel prices every day to make sure they don't undercharge startups resident at Moffett Field when they occasionally buy fuel. Maybe this will make a little bit more money for Federal Government. Maybe the extra revenue will be lost in the extra overhead.

about a month and a half ago
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Facebook Shuts Down @Facebook Email System

erice Re:Or maybe... (149 comments)

Definitely. Facebook email is an awkward and crippled parody of email. It is something to put up with for communicating with people who don't use use real email or who you don't trust with your real email address. But, seriously, why would anybody want to use Facebook email for communication that doesn't involve Facebook?

about 2 months ago
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Oklahoma Schools Required To Teach Students Personal Finance

erice Re:What's this story doing here? (304 comments)

Consider what they may not be teaching in order to cover topics that are

state-specific: bankruptcy, the financial impact of gambling and charitable giving

The school year and the material that can be covered in it is finite. If you add hefty new requirements, something else will have to be dropped. Maybe they can trim out all the "controversial" science.

about 2 months ago
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Google Fiber Pondering 9 New Metro Areas

erice I just hope that when it gets here, it is reliable (172 comments)

A friend of mine has had Google Fiber in Kansas City for several months. She still keeps here DSL as backup because Google Fiber goes down frequently, sometimes several times in one day.

about a month ago
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Under Armour/Lockheed Suit Blamed For US Skating Performance

erice Re:Dice Blamed for Beta (357 comments)

The ancient Greek olympics happened in the summer, not the winter. The Winter olympics have only been around since 1924. Athletes would succumb to exposure in a short time if they competed naked.

This clip suggests otherwise. (NSFW)

And, at Sochi, there seems to be one unintentional attempt.

about 2 months ago
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Computer Geeks As Loners? Data Says Otherwise

erice Re:Engineers FTW! (158 comments)

US Engineers are older though so it makes sense that more would be married. It is a commonly quoted statistic with the IEEE but perhaps not well known elsewhere that their membership is getting older 1 year per year. The same is not true in China and India.

about 2 months ago
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How Online Clues Located North Korea's Missile-Launcher Factories

erice Re:Oh, really? (71 comments)

Note that apparently the KN-08 is a liquid-fueled ICBM, which means it is completely useless for defensive purposes (you don't store liquid fueled missiles fueled-up, you fuel them just before launch - which would take too long to allow them to be used to react to an attack), and only really useful for a first strike.

Not necessarily. Titan II used liquid fuel and could be kept fully fueled in the silo indefinitely.

Atlas could be fueled in 15 minutes. Late variants reduced this further but loading the kerosene in times of high tension, which could remain in the rocket for long periods, and only waiting to the last minute to load the liquid oxygen. These versions were also kept in silos so they were only vulnerable during the time needed to load the oxidizer.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?

erice Re:The more simple you make it the less complex it (876 comments)

In practice, I believe that the present text-based programming paradigm artificially restricts programming to a much simpler logical structure compared to those commonly accepted and used by EEs. For example, I used to say "structured programming" is essentially restricting your flow chart to what can be drawn in two dimensions with no crossing lines. That's not strictly true, but it is close. Since the late 1970s, I've remarked that software is the only engineering discipline that still depends on prose designs.

Funny that you should say that. For the last 20 years, the trend in Electrical Engineering is away from graphical entry and toward text based design languages. Hardly anyone designs logic by drawing gates anymore. We use languages like Verilog and VHDL, which look a whole lot like software languages. Even the analog designers make use of Verilog-A or even just Spice, all text based. When it comes down to building a circuit board or analog circuitry on a chip, there is still a manual "compile" step of drawing diagrams and polygons but that is only because the result is ultimately a three dimensional object (well, more lke 2.5D) and it is the only way to be sure you get what you intended. It is not because creating designs graphically is considered convenient.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Robot rat beats up on live rats to make them depressed

erice erice writes  |  about a year ago

erice (13380) writes "Scientists researching anti-depression treatments have a problem: they can't tell if the treatment works or not unless their lab rats are depressed. Their solution is a malevolent mechanical rat that ensures that all their real rats lose the rat race."
Link to Original Source
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Woman wants to replace her non-functioning hand with a bionic prosthesis.

erice erice writes  |  about 2 years ago

erice (13380) writes "Injured in crash which damaged the nerves in her arm, she has reach the limits that can what be accomplished with nerve transplants. She can move her arm but doctors have given up hope of restoring use of her hand. So she wants doctors to amputate the hand and replace it with a bionic version that does work."
Link to Original Source
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World's largest optical telescope created

erice erice writes  |  more than 2 years ago

erice (13380) writes "Astronomers in Chile linked four telescopes together to form a single virtual mirror 130 meters in diameter. Previous efforts had linked two telescopes but this is the first time that all four had been linked."
Link to Original Source
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Doctor trials laser treatment to change eye colour

erice erice writes  |  more than 2 years ago

erice (13380) writes "A US Doctor proposes to change healthy pigmented eyes to blue by destroying the pigment with a laser. The procedure has already been tested on cadavers and then on live patients in Mexico. He is seeking funding to continue clinical trials."
Link to Original Source

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