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Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?

frank_adrian314159 Well why not? (220 comments)

Christ on a shingle, what's up with the "Will it be a pointless venture?" You already answered that when you said you wouldn't be the next Neil deGrasse Tyson or Carl Sagan. If that's your only limitation, then there's a lot of room between doing nothing and being in the top 100 recognized members of the pack.

And, even if it is a pointless venture, who cares? A person doesn't need to justify his choice of hobby and we all need our recreation time. Astronomy and astrophysics seems to be a place where an amateur could potentially still contribute - there's EM radiation coming down in a lot of different wavelength ranges and not a lot of coverage for what seems to be a very big sky. Sure, it'll be a lot of work, but what worthwhile isn't? Besides, you'll be entertained and you don't seem to have anything else better to do.

yesterday
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Use of Forced Labor "Systemic" In Malaysian IT Manufacturing

frank_adrian314159 Re:Some people *do* pay for jobs, and quite rightl (182 comments)

OK, let's put it this way - if you don't show up in uniform, you're sent home and don't get invited back to the party. The employer gives you a list of place(s) to buy your uniforms. How you pay for those is up to you. This happened at the first low wage job I had (as an orderly in a nursing home), as a construction worker (you couldn't show up in tennis shoes), and I'm pretty sure that's the case in almost any place in this country where low-wage employees are hired. And it's completely legal. So legal that you're allowed to write those off as a tax deduction. So, yeah, it's not "paying for a job" per se, but it does put a financial burden on people who are just starting one.

2 days ago
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ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

frank_adrian314159 Re:they will defeat themselves (949 comments)

Yeah, but luckily you haven't told him the "2. ???" part of your strategy yet. So STFU quick, unless you want to be poor and not keep the "best" goats for yourself!

2 days ago
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Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

frank_adrian314159 Re:Not going to be as rosy as the YES! campaign sa (488 comments)

But if they are actually stupid enough to do that they'll have made an enemy of an economy much larger than theirs, their largest export market, a country they're heavily dependent on for the basic infrastructure of running a government...

I have no dog in this fight (not that it's not entertaining theatre), but I also know that capitalists have very few enemies they will not sell to. If they were willing to deal with tinpot Central American dictators, you know they'll have no issue whatsoever in dealing with the Scots. You're probably overestimating the actual level of dislike between Britain and Scotland, even in the face of divorce. And you're especially overestimating the dislike of bankers cozying up to whomever they can make a profitable deal with - sharks have no national loyalties.

That being said, if the Scots really wanted to piss off the British, they could apply to France to become a protectorate and then keep the nukes.

2 days ago
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Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

frank_adrian314159 Wait, wait... (488 comments)

What happens to Scotty in this universe? Instead of engineering, will he go all Braveheart on the Southerners in the UK? My world is so confusing...

2 days ago
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Uber CEO: We'll Run Your Errands

frank_adrian314159 Re:Uber Fresh? (139 comments)

Fine, Wrong, why do we have doctors? After all, a bunch of sensors cameras and pressure monitors guiding a functional idiot could do the job if backed with the proper knowledge base. After all, it works so well with Comcast.

2 days ago
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Apple Outrages Users By Automatically Installing U2's Album On Their Devices

frank_adrian314159 Re:STD's (609 comments)

Be happy she's an ex-wife. Besides, one of my ex's sisters would have been fine for boinking, if not any sort of long-term thing. At least that's the only reason she'd be in my bed.

4 days ago
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The MOOC Revolution That Wasn't

frank_adrian314159 Re:You are measuring it wrong (182 comments)

Because they don't need to succeed, they need to DISRUPT. And disrupt one of the largest and most entrenched institutions in the world - the higher education system, which has been around, adapting, and surviving since the mid-15'th century. Plus they have to do it with a minimum of money to pay for decent course materials. But it needs to DISRUPT! Simple success is not enough. Investors don't pay for success any more. You must DISRUPT the dominant paradigm or you're rubbish. Whether this is a problem with the education system or financial system can be decided by the casual observer.

5 days ago
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Congress Can't Make Asteroid Mining Legal (But It's Trying, Anyway)

frank_adrian314159 Really? (213 comments)

This is what the idiots on the House science committee think is their most useful work to do at this time? Making space "safe" for mineral interests? Fuck, I can't believe that this is the most immediate concern in science (or even space, for that matter).

I can hear it now in Chair Lamar Smith's office: So what do we do today to look busy? I know, we'll have hearings on a symbolic bill that is unenforceable and will never get to the floor, let alone pass, but, since most people don't know that, it should be easy to spin it as about good American capitalists (yay!) getting that awful world government (boo!) and pesky things like the treaties we don't like (boo!) out of the way, so our good American capitalists (yay!) can make money (yay!) and create jobs (yay!). I'm pretty sure that's about how deep the analysis goes on the political side. Then there's just the money side with the Democratic congressman from the great state of Boeing providing bi-partisan cover.

Those idiots need to be voted out.

about a week ago
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When Scientists Give Up

frank_adrian314159 Re: Stop using tax dollars (348 comments)

If I were to write a grant application on deconstructing the contents of this Slashdot post, I would hope the government would turn me down.

Don't worry, they would. Unless you (or some of your University's board members - more likely, since you're a scientist and not someone who actually did something useful like make money and donate it to politicians) were a personal friend of a senator. Then, you'd get your funding.

about two weeks ago
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UK's National Health Service Moves To NoSQL Running On an Open-Source Stack

frank_adrian314159 Re:Surprise! Summary has wrong information (198 comments)

This data should be carried by the patient.

OK, you make sure it gets implanted in the patients so that they never leave home without it and they never lose it, otherwise the utility goes way down (although, if you're the kind of person who carries copies of all their medical records around with them now, I'm probably not going to convince you of this). Once you convince the general populace that the "Chip of the Beast" is acceptable, then you can ask for the information to be offline as it will then actually be available in the majority of patients. And, if you're thinking that a cell phone would make a fine repository for this data (and would usually be on you), I don't think my cell phone is any more secure than an encrypted online datastore, nor does everyone have one. And, if you're saying to give the patient a card with a chip to access medical service, see the whole "Chip of the Beast" thing above.

about two weeks ago
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In France, a Second Patient Receives Permanent Artificial Heart

frank_adrian314159 Re:DUAL CORE, BEEOTCHES! (183 comments)

Every once in a while here on Slashdot, Someone posts something incredibly profound.

That, or incredibly horrifying or maybe clueless about the malleability of minds and time scales needed for even social change, let alone evolutionary change. The trouble is that it's really hard for me to tell in this case. I have a sneaking suspicion that the GP is essentially correct, but I know I'm not ready for that transition, nor are a lot of people. Not to mention that, even though we made our move from uni-celled to multi-celled creature, we still have not shown any sort of long-term survival advantage for this sort of creature, as uni-celled creatures are still around and, in fact, still out-perform us and our other multi-cellular brethren by almost any biological survival measure - longevity, ability to handle climatic extremes, total mass, etc. Multi-cellular life, although I'd hate to give up my own, is still a biological experiment that still has not proven itself over evolutionary time and could be destroyed in an eye-blink. So profound or stupid about probabilities? Who knows... The more profound something is, the more it can look like madness.

about two weeks ago
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Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

frank_adrian314159 Re:COBOL (385 comments)

I guess I'm not much of a modern programmer. Although PL\I, FORTRAN, and BAL were the languages I used. And JCL... don't forget that... I also wrote a couple of RPG programs, but that was on an AS/400. Fun times.

about two weeks ago
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BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

frank_adrian314159 Re:Nonsense of the day (362 comments)

i hope uk does not get the land of the stupid and of the walking whales like the us.

As an American, I resent that characterization - you didn't mention our gun-toting habits.

about two weeks ago
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BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

frank_adrian314159 Re:Obviously (362 comments)

Well, they could if they could find one branded Ford. Their OEM batteries are built for them by Johnson Controls. I don't even know if they have a Ford logo on them from the factory. In any case, what would you sue them for? Failure to prevent electrical current flowing when a torturer is present? I see no way in which the battery was not working correctly. And, yes, even here in the US, it would be unlikely that anyone on a jury would buy an argument that either Ford or Johnson Controls were even minimally at fault - it would be as stupid as someone claiming that Ford was somehow to blame when terrorists use a Ford truck to drop a suicide bomber off somewhere.

about two weeks ago
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Denver Latest City Hit By Viral Respiratory Infection That Targets Kids

frank_adrian314159 Re:antibiotics (174 comments)

Yup, and now we have higher pneumonia rates as a result. Better for the herd? Yup. For the individual patient? Well, maybe not quite as much.

It's a tricky problem - you don't want antibiotic-resistant strains proliferating, but you don't want patients to spread or die of easily treated diseases, either. Evolution, in this case, sucks.

about two weeks ago
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L.A. Times National Security Reporter Cleared Stories With CIA Before Publishing

frank_adrian314159 Why does anyone listen to these morons? (188 comments)

Any reporter who has the words "National Security" or "Counterterrorism" in their title and who isn't actively investigating the wrongdoings of the national security apparatus, is in bed with the spooks. There's no way the security apparatchicks will grant someone looking into their interests a solid middle ground - you're either with them or against them. To think otherwise is foolish.

Any news organization that has one of these reporters are simply letting a snake into their newsroom. Dina Temple-Raston with NPR should be fired for her breathless and unquestioning reporting on high-tech gadgetry and "inside analysis" that's generated for her daily by the CIA, military intelligence, and the NSA. Fuck, from David Martin of CBS to Martha Raddatz of ABC to this print-press idiot, these people are worthless as reporters.

about two weeks ago
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IT Job Hiring Slumps

frank_adrian314159 Re:bringing in more H1Bs will solve this problem (250 comments)

No-one has quite found the right solution for websites...

And they never will until folks get it through their heads that, separation of concerns notwithstanding, needing to learn more than two or three disparate languages to make any software system is a bad idea. Just because the concerns are separated doesn't mean syntax and computational models need to be. Right now, to write a reasonable web page, you need to know HTML, CSS, and Javascript at a minimum. Take that all the way to the backend and you're probably adding Java (or Clojure, or node.js - yes, that's still Javascript, sue me - if you want to be all "up to date") and SQL to the mix. And I haven't even finished adding in persistence and UI frameworks and templating languages.

Then you get the situation that there's such a proliferation of the ancillary technology that employers who see anything from their technology stack missing from your resume and assume that the H1B who's lied on his resume about it is better qualified. We are building our own coffins with these new tools.

about two weeks ago
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IT Job Hiring Slumps

frank_adrian314159 Re:bringing in more H1Bs will solve this problem (250 comments)

Since assembly or C (or C++ for that matter) are the main languages used today that can give you buffer overflow if used incorrectly, why are people letting programmers who have "never seen them before" work in these languages? It would seem a modicum of training might be needed to fill in the gap. Shouldn't employers who are worried about such things provide training in these areas if they need it? Oh, I see... It's all the contrac... uh, I mean employee's responsibility.

about two weeks ago
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Combating Recent, Ugly Incidents of Misogyny In Gamer Culture

frank_adrian314159 Re:Not a lot, just a lot of trolls. (1134 comments)

Asshole or misogynist, it doesn't matter. The behavior should be viewed as unacceptable. Fuck, do you go around telling people on the street that you're going to kill or rape them? And trying to shade the issue because someone used one negative term rather than the other, when no one will know what the actual motivation was, just gives cover for this obnoxious behavior. You just shouldn't fucking do that shit, mmmkay?

Plus, idiots like these are driving us towards the day when anonymity on the internet goes away. Do you want that? Because that's what it's coming to, boys and girls. So either act like adults and figure out a way to police yourselves in a reasonable way, or get locked down - the internet is now too important to the "normal" function of our society to allow a bunch of misogynists, assholes, or whatever to disrupt it. And the powers that be certainly won't let that happen. Defense of anyone who acts like this for any reason only makes things worse.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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FCC doesn't care about net neutrality anymore

frank_adrian314159 frank_adrian314159 writes  |  about 5 months ago

frank_adrian314159 (469671) writes "The New York Times reports that, after a recent SCOTUS ruling ripped apart current net neutrality rules, the FCC has decided that net neutrality isn't worth arguing over — it's now perfectly fine for carriers (including your last mile providers) to charge different rates for different data. If Congress wants to change this, they can, but until then, the FCC has decided that this debate isn't worth debating any more."
Link to Original Source
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New CFAA "Reform" Draft Makes Law Even Worse

frank_adrian314159 frank_adrian314159 writes  |  about a year and a half ago

frank_adrian314159 writes "After the Aaron Swartz suicide, people had hoped that CFAA would be modified to be less draconian. Our naivete knows no bounds. Salon reports that the new draft of the modified CFAA makes the law even worse by expanding it (and its penalties) rather than by reining it in. One provision states that anyone conspiring to break this new law will be subject to the same penalty as if they had committed the crime in question. And even though the bill's language on "exceeding authorized access" has been trimmed a bit, the same language in the section about "unauthorized access" makes the point moot and is still broad enough to be troubling, especially given the law's penalties."
Link to Original Source
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Is the concept of "Cyberspace" stupid?

frank_adrian314159 frank_adrian314159 writes  |  about a year and a half ago

frank_adrian314159 writes "In an article titled "Stop Pretending Cyberspace Exists", Salon writer Michael Lind notes that "Some ideas make you dumber the moment you learn of them. One of those ideas is the concept of 'cyberspace.'” He says that analogizing cyberspace as a real place leads to an inability to think logically about laws, rules, and how and when the governments could or should intervene to regulate the Internet. He states that such a debate is essential, but that that an "[invasion of] a mythical Oz-like kingdom called cyberspace is just as dopey" when talking about governments and corporations taking a larger role in online communications. Is Lind right? Does the notion of cyberspace make the debate over its governance less fruitful?"
Link to Original Source
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New Music Boss Worse Than Old Music Boss

frank_adrian314159 frank_adrian314159 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

frank_adrian314159 writes "David Lowery, musician (Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven), producer (Sparklehorse, Counting Crows), recording engineer (Archers of Loaf, Lamb of God), and geek (programmer, packet radio operator, ex-CBOT quant) talks about the economics of the music business and how the "old boss" — the record labels — have been replaced by the new boss — file downloading services, song streaming, and commercial online music stores. His take? Although the old boss was often unfair to artists, artists are making even less money under the new boss. Backed with fairly persuasive data, he shows that, under the new distribution model, artists — even small independent ones — are exposed to more risk while making less money. In addition, the old boss was investing in the creation of new music, while the new boss doesn't. This article is lengthy, but worth the attention of anyone interested in the future of music or music distribution."
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Should Reporters be "Truth Vigilantes"

frank_adrian314159 frank_adrian314159 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

frank_adrian314159 writes "Arthur S. Brisbane, public editor of the New York Times asks if reporters in this world of balance should become "truth vigilantes"? So rather than reporting facts — i.e., politician said X about Y, even if X is false — should the media become "truth vigilantes" by pointing out that X is indeed false? That the public editor of the New York Times has to ask this is probably an indication that the media has strayed too far towards balance rather than truth. Should the media be worried about truth anymore?"
Link to Original Source
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Boeing CEO Says Outsourcing Didn't Pay

frank_adrian314159 frank_adrian314159 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

frank_adrian314159 (469671) writes "The Seattle Times reports that Boeing's CEO is saying that the cost overruns on the 787 "Dreamliner" were greatly exacerbated by the company's heavy use of outsourcing. Although it is now fairly well accepted that outsourcing provides little cost savings and what cost savings there are often get spent in increased management costs and rework, the outsourcing drive goes on. It's nice to see a major industry figure saying that all is not so rosy as the MBAs would have us think."
Link to Original Source
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US Gov Pressuring Manning to Implicate Assange

frank_adrian314159 frank_adrian314159 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

frank_adrian314159 (469671) writes "In his Salon article today, Glenn Greenwald tells of the government's plan to prosecute Julian Assange. In short, the government believes that, if they can get Bradley Manning (the source of the leaked information) to testify that Assange convinced him to leak, they can prosecute Assange under the Espionage Act. As a means to this end, they have been holding Manning in isolation and subjecting him to other inhumane treatment, offering him better treatment should he would be willing to testify. That this would endanger with prosecution any investigative journalist who got information from a military informant has not passed unnoticed."
Link to Original Source
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RIAA to Appeal Thomas-Rasset Ruling

frank_adrian314159 frank_adrian314159 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

frank_adrian314159 (469671) writes "The RIAA will appeal the ruling that reduced Jammie Thomas-Rasset's $1.92 fine for file sharing to $54,000.

"It is a shame that Ms. Thomas-Rasset continues to deny any responsibility for her actions rather than accept a reasonable settlement offer and put this case behind her," said RIAA spokeswoman Cara Duckworth.

Joe Sibley, an attorney for Thomas-Rasset, said his client would not settle for the $25,000 that the RIAA has asked for.

"Jammie is not going to agree to pay any amount of money to them," Sibley said, adding that it doesn't matter to Thomas-Rasset whether the damages are $25,000 or $1.92 million.

In addition, Thomas-Rasset's attorneys say that, win or lose, they plan to appeal the constitutionality of the fine."
Link to Original Source

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Video Title Says it All - HP Computers Are Racist

frank_adrian314159 frank_adrian314159 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

frank_adrian314159 (469671) writes "The folks at HP have outdone themselves this time. It turns out that when a white person tries to use the tracking software on their laptops, it works fine. When a black person tries? It doesn't work as well (or at all). It could be any number of causes to this fault, but one thing is clear — the more complicated you make something, the greater the chance of unintended consequences."
Link to Original Source
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Pope Comes Out Against Over-Zealous IP Restriction

frank_adrian314159 frank_adrian314159 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

frank_adrian314159 (469671) writes "In his latest encyclical, Benedictine XVI comes out against overly aggressive IP restrictions. In it, he attacks "excessive zeal for protecting knowledge through an unduly rigid assertion of the right to intellectual property, especially in the field of health care." He doesn't seem to be that into a lot of today's capitalism, either — must be that whole uphold-the-downtrodden thing."
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Music From Stock Charts?

frank_adrian314159 frank_adrian314159 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

frank_adrian314159 writes "German composer/artist Johannes Kreidler has digitized various stock charts and other graphs, using Microsoft's SongSmith to generate the backing music. The video produced from the animation of the charts using the music as background is interesting. From his web page (my translation):

The prettiest melodies come from life itself! Every man is an artist — so too, every politician and banker: Songs for millions! Times of crisis are always good for art. Thanks for the music!

"

Link to Original Source
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Texas BoE Wants Decade of Hol(e)y Evolution

frank_adrian314159 frank_adrian314159 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

frank_adrian314159 writes "Clay Burell, 40-year veteran teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator, blogs about a majority in the Texas Board of Education which is likely to vote for state science standards requiring science teachers to teach the (non-existent) "weaknesses or limitations of evolution." The problem? Textbooks used in Texas must align with these standards and as goes Texas (the second largest textbook market in the US, following California), so goes your kids' textbooks, wherever you are in the US. Even worse? These guidelines will be in place for a decade, warping Biology content for that period of time."
Link to Original Source
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The seven habits of highly subversive people

frank_adrian314159 frank_adrian314159 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

frank_adrian314159 writes "Tired of the repression in the US? Want to fight "da man"? Want to be a subversive? A person who grew up in an authoritarian regime tells you how to do it in seven simple habits. Although couched in language of ecological concern Amanda Kovattana gives everyone who wants to get off their butts and make a difference a good set of guidelines."
Link to Original Source

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